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Dublin: 3°C Tuesday 1 December 2020
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'Everyone is doing what they can. We are here to help' - WNL stars making a difference on the frontline

Catherine Cronin and Ciara Grant are working in hospitals through the crisis.

EVERY TEAM AND every league across the world has players fighting the Covid-19 pandemic on the frontline in hospitals, clinics, surgeries, nursing homes and further afield.

Instead of switching their place of work for the pitch this weekend, however, they’re staying firmly rooted there and focused on the biggest battle across the globe at the minute.

unnamed (2) DLR Waves captain Catherine Cronin. Source: SPORTSFILE.

Two Women’s National League [WNL] stars — DLR Waves captain Catherine Cronin and Shelbourne star and former Ireland international Ciara Grant — should be enjoying the early stages of the top-flight competition here, but instead they’re staying in their scrubs and doing whatever they can to help.

Cronin works in the radiology department of St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin, but like many others, has been seconded into different roles and is helping care for patients who have contracted Covid-19.

“There is a good pathway in St Vincent’s with good support structures, from the porters to security and everyone else working there,” she says. “It is definitely a different atmosphere with no visitors allowed, but everyone is doing what they can.

“It is all still part of the job. But at the same time you are very aware that the virus is going around and you try to look after everyone in the same way.

Some patients may be coming down to your unit having had no visitors for the last month, so you try to go the extra mile to be nice and to help them.

Limerick native Cronin had committed to another season with DLR — formerly UCD Waves –  back in January as the side looked to improve on last year’s sixth-placed finish, though her priorities have changed dramatically.

The same applies for Grant, a recently-qualified doctor and medical tutor.

The Donegal native was gearing up for a WNL return this year after making the move from Northern side Sion Swifts, but after the coronavirus outbreak, she returned to her hometown to volunteer at Letterkenny University Hospital.

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unnamed Ciara Grant. Source: Shelbourne FC.

“There are doctors, nurses, cleaners, lots of different people, all putting ourselves at higher risk of contamination by working in populated areas in the hospital, as well as those working in nursing homes and hospices,” Shebourne’s new signing said.

These are very difficult situations with people self-isolated and people sacrificing a lot. I wanted to do what I could — even though I’m not on the Covid-19 ward, there is still a lot to do. Some people are almost afraid to come near the hospital if they have anything wrong with them but we are here to help.

“There is fantastic work being done by people all around the country to battle this virus,” the talented Gaelic footballer who won an Ulster senior title with her county in 2018 added. “I just want to help out as best as I can.”

Away from their hospital jobs, both Cronin and Grant have been trying to keep themselves active but football, understandably, is not to the forefront of their minds right now.

Last week, the Football Association of Ireland [FAI] extended a ban on all football-related activity until 5 May, though they are still aiming to restart the men’s and women’s domestic leagues in a month-and-a-half. 

As of now, the WNL is set for a June restart.

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Emma Duffy

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