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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 5 August, 2020
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Losing our wages is far from ideal but there are bigger concerns now

Cork City FC captain Gearóid Morrissey shares his thoughts on the impact of Covid-19.

WHEN I FIRST learned about the spread of Covid-19 on the news a few months ago, I can’t say it was something I expected to have an impact on my life. 

It sounded terrible and I sympathised with the people who were affected, but you don’t expect events as far away as China to have consequences here. 

If you felt the same way, we now know how naive we had been.

While we eventually saw this coming, there was still a sense of being caught off guard by its arrival. The spread of the virus is now having consequences for the entire world.

gearoid-morrissey Gearoid Morrissey in action for Cork City against Shelbourne last month. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

It has been over three weeks since my Cork City team-mates and I played a game. At best, we’ll be back on the pitch in three months, but even that might be an overly-optimistic target.

On Thursday we’ll be paid by the club in full. We, along with many others, will be relying on the payments being distributed by the government thereafter.

For Cork City to announce that we won’t receive wages beyond this week was a difficult decision. It was also the only decision. I can’t comment on how things are being done at other clubs, but I know that this was a last-resort option.

To ensure that the club continues to exist beyond this difficult time, this was an unfortunate but necessary move. Attempting to continue paying us when there’s no matchday income would be impossible.

I have no doubt that the club has our best interests at heart, and that when the outlook becomes brighter again, our contracts will be honoured.

This is a very scary time, and financial worries are not even close to being the main reason for that. My main concern is for my family and friends.

Football provides me with a livelihood, but we can’t overcome this pandemic without temporarily pushing things like sport to one side.

If people, like me, have to put their careers on hold for a while in order for this threat to be eradicated and for my loved ones to stay healthy, I think that’s a relatively small sacrifice.

I know that football will still be there once this period passes, which is why I’ve generally tried to stay relaxed about the overall situation. Once nobody close to me is affected detrimentally by the virus, I’m confident my mindset will stay that way.

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Don’t get me wrong: it has been a stressful couple of weeks. You can find yourself lying awake at night, adding up your bills and playing out all sorts of worst-case scenarios in your head. 

That inevitably leads to anxiety. In the morning you’re still thinking about it and it affects your mood for the rest of the day as a result.

Although the financial fall-out is far from ideal, I’ve found that there’s a sense of comfort from the fact that nearly everybody is in the same boat. Finding yourself in this situation at any other time would cause you to hit the panic button, but we’re not living in ordinary times.

I’ve had a lot to be thankful for both personally and professionally over the last few years, from getting married to winning the double with my hometown club. Unfortunately over the last 12 months or so, results and performances have fallen well short of our standards and expectations at Cork City. The current situation has thrown up another difficult challenge.

Such is life. No one’s story is a constant upward curve. Life is full of ups and downs. I believe that as long as you keep your own mind strong, you’ll eventually get a favourable outcome.

There’ll be more highs to come and more lows too. There’s no escaping that because that’s reality. If you stay honest, keep living your life the right way and do your best every day to be a good person, you’ll remain content no matter what setbacks you encounter. Whether it’s on or off the pitch, hardship builds character.

Many of us have grandparents who told us about hard times long ago that we couldn’t relate to. When we tell future generations about this period, we’ll each hope to be able to say that we did everything in our power to deal with it in the right way. 

You might be finding this period difficult, and it’s completely understandable to be overwhelmed or scared. Just remember, you’re not the only one who’s feeling that way.

We’re all in it together. 

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About the author:

Gearóid Morrissey  / Cork City FC captain

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