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'They were proactive to stop the spread' - Galway star praises locals at home after spate of Covid-19 cases

Conor Whelan says there have been no new cases in his home village of Kinvara.

GALWAY HURLER CONOR Whelan has praised the people of from his home village in Kinvara for their “proactive” approach to stopping the spread of Covid-19 following a spate of cases in the area.

Conor W Galway hurler Conor Whelan. Source: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

Whelan, who helped Galway to All-Ireland glory in 2017, says that a number of cases affected a family but that quick and decisive measures halted the spread of the virus.

“I think Kinvara was one of the few areas that were very open about the fact that they have positive cases of the virus in Kinvara,” says Whelan, who is living in Galway city at the moment.

“I think it was one of the first places to be open and honest about it with the objective of ensuring that people stayed away and to try and stop the spread of the virus and I suppose other areas didn’t really do that so you had Kinvara kind of standing out really from the rest of the crowd.”

The 2017 Young Hurler of the Year adds that there have been no new coronavirus cases confirmed in Kinvara, and that the Government’s instructions regarding social distancing are being fully observed locally.

“I think it took a snowball effect from there and I think it was kind of that Kinvara was the only place that looked like it had the virus I suppose but ultimately it wasn’t.

“But I think from a Kinvara perspective, it was important that it was made known that there was positive cases in the area to try and get the message across to stop coming out of your house, to try and start social distancing at that time.

I suppose it wasn’t really happening and they closed the GAA pitch and they closed off all training very early on before other places did and they were very proactive in their attempts to try and stop the virus.

“Thankfully there hasn’t been any cases in the area since so I think the overall objective was to try and highlight the importance of it and try and stop the spread of it and I think that’s something that has happened since.”

conor-whelan-scores-a-goal Whelan scoring a goal against Tipperary during the league. Source: Tom O'Hanlon/INPHO

Whelan is currently studying an MA in teaching and is based in a school in Ballygar at the moment. He doesn’t have any Leaving Cert or Junior Cert classes on his books, but is trying to educate fifth year students using online technology called Microsoft Team.

There are obvious barriers that come with not having direct contact with his class. Some students are encountering IT issues, and a lack of access to the internet. Others require more teaching assistance that cannot be provided through online platforms.

We’re just trying to do the best we can,” he says, “and hopefully we’ll get the chance to pick it up again but you definitely wouldn’t be satisfied with the level of teaching that you’re able to do online but I suppose you just have to do the most with what you have.”

In the context of what the world is facing at present, sport is not a concern for Whelan.

“Sport and all that can be talked about and it’s obviously very important but people’s lives are at risk,” he reasons.

The GAA season is at a standstill for the moment. All activity is suspended until at least 19 April, although it is unlikely that the coronavirus pandemic will have settled sufficiently to allow sport resume by then.

Prior to the GAA’s decision to call a halt to everything, Whelan’s Galway side were preparing for a Division 1 quarter-final against Wexford. It’s unclear whether or not the national leagues will be completed this year, while there have been suggestions to reformat the championship into a straight knockout competition.

Whelan says he has no preference as to how the championship should be structured, but insists that all teams will need more than two weeks to prepare for games.

“I don’t think two weeks is adequate time. If you are telling me in two weeks that we’re going to be playing our first round championship game — whether it’s round robin a straight knockout — you can probably take the week before the game out of it.

“You are not going to get any level of training done the week of a game, because obviously you need to bring back down the intensity and the load that week. So really you are talking one week of collective training. 

“I think four weeks in the current circumstances would probably be ideal at the moment.” 

Conor Whelan, pictured at the Patrick Bourke Menswear ‘Kings Of The Game’ campaign launch.

Available now from www.patrickbourkemenswear.ie, the exclusive ‘Kings Of The Game’ spring collection combines style and performance.

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