Limerick manager Kiely urges everyone to be responsible
By John Harrington
Limerick hurling manager, John Kiely, has urged the GAA community to rally together as the country deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.
He hopes that if everyone can ‘knuckle down’, then before too long the nation's spirits can be lifted again by a resumption of GAA activity.
"As an inter-county manager looking at this problem, it's obviously another challenge for us,” said Kiely today when interviewed on Radio 1’s Morning Ireland programme.
“We've had the players in now for a number of months training and playing matches and we were coming to the closing stages of the National Hurling League.
"Since Thursday we've realised that a far bigger issue has come over the horizon for us all to deal with that’s a far bigger challenge there's a huge onus on us all to knuckle down and do everything we can within our own environment.
"What we need to look after are our neighbours, families, and friends and get back to the basics really I suppose and take on the responsibilities that are being asked of us.
"As for our players we've given them their individual programmes that they can work on themselves at home.
"They're well-able to manage that. They're as qualified as an awful lot of the people who are instructing them.
"They've been through the mill a number of years now. They know what's expected of them, they need to look after themselves and ensure that when this is all over that they can resume full training again.
"It's an opportunity for them to rehab injuries and freshen up, and come back with a great appetite when this is over and hopefully provide us with lots of fantastic entertainment that I'm sure the nation will need as an uplift when this is over.
"It's going to need a lift and I think sport will be a huge player in lifting the spirits of the nation when it does come back on the agenda when this is all over."
Kiely is principal of the Abbey School in Tipperary in his day-job and says they, like schools across the country, have worked hard to ensure their students are fully briefed on their curriculum from home.
“I suppose we were preparing for a number of weeks beforehand,” said Kiely.
"The staff were helping to set up Office 365 with microsoft teams and that precipates the students and staff being able to work from home and being able to interact and share resources even though we're not in school.
"Technology allows us to have an interaction with the students at home and, to be fair to the students and the staff, they've worked really hard on that and we got off to a great start on Friday.
"I know this is happening in schools all over the country. Staff will sit this morning at their table at home and they'll be communicating with their students, setting them work and receiving work back from them. Correcting work, planning work for later in the week. And that will go on right through the next few weeks, however long it takes.
"We're very fortunate that our teachers are so dedicated and hard-working. They're trying to ensure the students are kept busy at home and will be ready for their exams whenever they do come around.”
Kiely believes that everyone has a part to play to ensure the nation deals with the COVID-19 emergency as well as it possibly can.
"At the moment we're worried about the health and welfare of our family, our friends, our neighbours,” he said.
"I take great confidence from the fact that we have Dr Tony Holohan and his team, and the government, I think they're really on top of things.
"They're being well-supported by the Gardaí, the Army, our health service workers. We've over 120,000 people working in the health sector.
"I think out of respect for the effort that they're putting in right now, I think everybody else needs to follow suit and do what they can.
"They're at the coalface, they're doing what they can putting in huge, huge shifts at great expense to them and their families.
"And at huge risk, as well. So in solidarity we need to do what's right and do whatever's expected of us, and that's the bottom line."