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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 31 March, 2020
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The Irish international and personal trainer adapting to unusual times

Áine O’Gorman on the importance of maintaining good physical and mental health amid the coronavirus crisis.

Aine O’Gorman recently returned to the Ireland set-up.
Aine O’Gorman recently returned to the Ireland set-up.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRELAND AS A country has been seriously impacted by the coronavirus crisis and in many instances, footballers are no exception to these problems.

Before the pandemic, Áine O’Gorman was coming off the back of a good few weeks.

She had come out of international retirement, after an absence of over a year. She helped Ireland secure important wins over Greece and Montenegro, boosting their chances of qualifying for the Euros in the process, as they now sit top of Group I, one point above second-place Germany, who have a game in hand.

O’Gorman’s Peamount side were also due to start the Women’s National League season on the weekend beginning 14 March, but all plans have recently been put on hold because of Covid-19.

Yet a lack of football is not the only major change for O’Gorman. She also works as a personal trainer, and like many people, has seen her business effected in recent weeks.

“A lot of the gyms closed last week, which is understandable,” she tells The42. “Obviously a lot of clients are on hold, but it is what it is. A lot of businesses throughout the country and throughout the world have been massively impacted. I think we’re all in this together and it’s obviously for the best in terms of the health and well-being of everyone.

“I sent my PT clients some home workouts they can do and I’m doing a little bit of work with the Dublin City Sport and Well-Being Partnership, online stuff that will be rolled out over the coming while, so that’s kept me a bit busy too.”

And does the 30-year-old Wicklow native have any advice for those looking to maintain good fitness levels in these unusual times?

“As long as you’re well, it’s important to keep a little bit of routine and get the whole family involved if you’re at home and get a bit of exercise done. Obviously it’s hard with people working from home, kids being at home as well. I’m a better person after I’ve exercised, so I think it’s really important for your physical and mental health to stay active.

“Everything is quite individual at the moment. But everyone is in the same boat and you just have to get on with it. I still managed to get out to Enniskerry this morning. There was no one out there at nine o’clock going onto the pitch and I could do some runs and ball work and stuff like that. That’s where I’m at at the moment. And then just doing some strength and conditioning at home.

“I haven’t really been that bored yet. I’ve been keeping myself busy and always have something to do every day. I’ve been doing a bit of work out in the garden — it’s great having the nice weather.”

In terms of football, it’s been similarly frustrating. Having undergone part of pre-season and nearly been set to kick off the campaign, she has suddenly been forced to stop again. 

With the Irish team too, there is no chance to build on the momentum created by the victories earlier this month.

An upcoming match with group rivals Germany has been postponed, while a game away to Ukraine, due to take place on 5 June, is far from certain to go ahead.

Though it has yet to be officially confirmed, there is strong speculation that the Women’s Euros, scheduled to take place in the summer of 2021 in England, will be moved to avoid clashing with the men’s Euros. A report in the Telegraph yesterday suggested it would be pushed back to 2022.

I don’t know what’s happening,” O’Gorman says. “We just got told that the match against Germany won’t be going ahead for the time being. We’re just going to focus on qualifying, but the more they push it out, the older I’m going to get, so that doesn’t help, does it?

“The men’s Euros moving to 2021 is a good decision to make, especially when it’s spread across the 12 cities. It’ll be a really good boost when it does come around for the Irish public, hopefully the lads can qualify as well.

“I don’t know if [the women's event will] get moved back a year. It might have to, to get all the qualifying games out of the way and proper preparation done. But once we’re in the Euros, I don’t care when it is.”

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Paul Fennessy

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