In a perfect world Tipperary Ladies footballer Aishling Moloney would have been tapering her training ahead of a TG4 Munster Senior Championship semi-final against record winners Cork this weekend. But instead of plotting the downfall of her neighbours to the south she has become enthralled by people bettering lives in her community.
Moloney’s studies in DCU finished via a virtual platform this year, while her usual summer pilgrimage home to the family poultry farm is also very different due to Covid-19 restrictions. But in very challenging times, Moloney sees huge positives all round.
“I’m home in Cahir since the start of March, just tipping around doing a bit of painting helping Dad around the place,” said Lidl ambassador Moloney.
“We have a poultry farm. We keep a few thousand pheasants and ducks, but that has all stopped this summer. We normally bring in the birds from France. They couldn’t go ahead with it this year so our business is gone as well with everything going on.
“I normally have a routine every year, especially around championship. The month of May for me is always spent here on the farm. June is a bit quieter and in July it takes off again, so it’s nice having a break. Mam and Dad need the break too because it’s very hands-on work.
“But it’s not the end of the world, there is a lot of worse things going on out there where people are dying. It is different for us all. But we’re not killing each other yet anyway, thankfully.”
Shane Ronayne’s Tipperary panel were sticking to some online group training for the early weeks of the lockdown, but since the start of May that has all been halted.
While the lack of football and rigid training was strange to start with, the 2019 Intermediate Footballer of the Year has started to enjoy the variety of life.
She says: “Right now it is up to ourselves what we want to do. We can do our own thing so I have gotten away from football for a while. It’s a great opportunity to take a break, try something different like cycling and walking.
“I climbed a mountain the other day, which I probably would never have done if I was playing football. It’s nice to do things like that you would never have done before. The Knockmealdown Mountains are close to home – it’s within the five kilometre zone anyway so I won’t get in trouble – but it was lovely to head up there.
“It took me two hours to get up so it was a good test. It’s really steep but it’s lovely. If I was in the thick of training there is no way I’d have done that.”
One of the side effects of the global pandemic has been the outbreak of kindness and community spirit that followed it.
Moloney, who is promoting the new #LidlLegends initiative, says the country is full of community heroes and she hopes the goodwill can continue when life gets back to normal.
“GAA clubs are so community based anyway, but everyone is looking out for one another. There has been a lot of volunteering all over Ireland, not just at home here where I can see it. People are going out bringing shopping to the elderly, delivering prescriptions and things like that.
“It’s great to see Lidl recognising this with small things like their Community Gift Cards and priority queueing for LGFA volunteers. It makes such a difference when people are trying to help out.
“I was just speaking to my friend and we were saying that if people were like this the whole time wouldn’t it make life a lot easier. A lot of people out there are struggling on a daily basis. Just a simple gesture like a smile or a wave is huge. Someone acknowledging you without words, it goes a long way.
“Hopefully when we come out of this some of these good deeds will stick. There’s a real different atmosphere around the place.
“Although us Irish are regarded as friendly we have taken it to another level now. We are looking out for each other. I’d love it we can continue to be like that. It’d make life a lot easier for everyone out there.”
The #LidlLegends initiative is celebrating the voluntary work of LGFA members throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. You can nominate by using the hashtag #LidlLegends and tagging the Lidl Ireland and LGFA social media accounts. You can also enter the competition by commenting on the Facebook post pinned to the top of the LGFA Facebook page. Winners, chosen by Lidl and LGFA, will be selected from each of the four provinces and will win a set of Lidl sponsored jerseys and training equipment, a training session with a Lidl ambassador (when current restrictions allow) for their club team, along with a €100 Lidl voucher for themselves.