One thing this pandemic has brought to the forefront has been a strong community spirit of looking out for other people, especially those who are cocooning for their own protection.
Beyond just making sure their physical needs are met, one concern about people cocooning at home is making sure their social needs are met.
Galway’s GAA clubs are already doing extraordinary things in the community while they’re off the pitch, and now some of the county’s biggest hurling and football legends are volunteering to spend time over the phone with people who are self-isolating.
Oranmore native and former Executive Editor of GAA with RTE Sport Paul Byrnes together with the recently appointed ‘Community Champion’ for Galway City Brendan Mulry came up with this initiative.
For the duration of the lockdown period a number of Galway hurling and football legends including 3-time All Ireland winning manager Cyril Farrell, All-Ireland winning captain Ray Silke, 2-time All-Ireland winning manager John O’Mahony and Joe Connolly who captained Galway to All-Ireland success in 1980 have all very kindly made themselves available to talk to cocooning GAA fans over the next few weeks.
“We are very lucky to have the likes of Cyril, John, Ray and Joe on board who have given us so many magical and memorable moments in the maroon and white,” said Paul Byrnes.
Brendan Mulry added “While there aren’t any hard and fast rules, the focus is really on those fans who maybe need this most.”
“Think of a parent or grandparent who is at home isolating who would love to chat all things GAA with a legend of the game.”
Pat Kearney, Chairperson of Galway GAA said that this is a great idea for these unprecedented times.
“Galway great, Iggy Clarke who chairs our Health and Wellbeing Committee has done a huge amount of work in recent weeks taking calls from all over the county and is available if anybody want to get in touch with him.”
“We are all hugely missing the GAA and look forward to the day when we can play our competitions again and the likes of Tuam, Kenny Park and Pearse Stadium are open to our players and supporters to enjoy”.
Each Local authority areas across Ireland has had a Community Champion appointed in recent weeks as part of an initiative by Irish Rural Link and The Wheel, a national association of community and voluntary groups, charities, and social enterprises..
The aim of the programme is to make sure that those cocooning and people with additional needs have access to the highest quality information and support.
If you need help, want to help, or are already helping please contact your Community Champion, Brendan Mulry for Galway City on 087 2194243, firstname.lastname@example.org or Steve Dolan for Galway County on 087 4068766 or email@example.com.