The GAA has been the cornerstone of most parishes and counties for decades. However, when Covid hit Ireland in March 2020 most training came to a halt. Grace Clifford, who plays with the Kildare Senior Ladies football team spoke about her experience of training through the pandemic. Clifford is a well-seasoned footballer and won the Senior County final with her club Eadestown last year. She has been a member of the Kildare panel for the last ten seasons and has been captain for the past three years.
The year 2020 started as a positive year for the Kildare Ladies, they were winning all their games and were into a league final. “It’s been a tough year,” said Clifford, who like most people thought the lockdown would only last a couple of weeks. “We had to work really hard to make sure everything was above board so that football could go ahead,” said Grace, adding, “we didn’t think we’d get to play any football at all.”
However, training has “dramatically changed” for the ladies over the past year. “We play Gaelic football, it’s a team sport and that’s what you play for to play with your teammates,” Clifford admitted that it was difficult to adjust to individual training and it was hard to stay motivated on your own, but said, “Thank God for WhatsApp.”
The latest easing of restrictions has seen the resumption of Inter-County training this week. Clifford was excited to get back on the pitch saying, “The real test will be going back training with the rest of the girls, hopefully, I’ll be able to showcase the hard work I’ve put in off the field.”