Soccer

WNL Players Fighting On The Frontline

There is no land across the globe that has not felt the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), characterised as a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

As a result, there is an urgent requirement for more PPE equipment and also, skilled volunteers to step forward and offer support.

In Ireland, several sporting stars have put themselves forward to lend their expertise, resources and skills to come together and fight COVID-19.

Ciara Grant and Catherine Cronin should be battling on the football pitch this coming weekend. Instead, the two Women’s National League (WNL) players are fighting against the virus to help do their part in battling COVID-19.

Catherine Cronin
Catherine Cronin captains the DLR Waves. She won back-to-back league titles with Raheny in 2012/13 and 2013/14.

Catherine Cronin is certainly playing her part. The DLR Waves captain works in St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin and has been kept busy doing whatever she can to help.

Cronin works specifically in the Radiology Department and has helped care for patients contracted with COVID-19, which is systematic of anyone working in the health sector right now.

“There is a good pathway in St Vincent’s with good support structures, from the porters to security and everyone else working there. It is definitely a different atmosphere with no visitors allowed, but everyone is doing what they can,” said Cronin.

“It is all still part of the job. But at the same time you are very aware that the virus is going around and you try to look after everyone in the same way. Some patients may be coming down to your unit having had no visitors for the last month, so you try to go the extra mile to be nice and to help them.”

Cronin has featured in the WNL since it’s formation in 2011. The winger is set to captain the DLR Waves for the second season running.

Ciara Grant has been capped over 12 times for the National Team. Grant also won the Ulster Ladies Football Championship in 2018.

Ciara Grant has gone through a similar experience since the outbreak of COVID-19 after she returned home to Donegal to help out at Letterkenny University Hospital.

This should have been a period when the former Republic of Ireland WNT international was settling into life as a Shelbourne player having decided to make a return to the Women’s National League this year. But she was quick to volunteer in her hometown when the crisis started.

“There are doctors, nurses, cleaners, lots of different people, all putting ourselves at higher risk of contamination by working in populated areas in the hospital, as well as those working in nursing homes and hospices,” said Grant.

“These are very difficult situations with people self-isolated and people sacrificing a lot. I wanted to do what I could even though I’m not on the COVID-19 ward, there is still a lot to do. Some people are almost afraid to come near the hospital if they have anything wrong with them but we are here to help.

“There is fantastic work being done by people all around the country to battle this virus. I just want to help out as best as I can.”

The 26-year-old midfielder made her return to the WNL after a spell playing for Sion Swifts in the Northern Irish Women’s Premier Division. The Letterkenny native is no stranger to the WNL, having won successive titles in 2013 and ’14 during her time with Raheny United.

Away from the hospitals, both Cronin and Grant have been trying to keep themselves active but football, understandably, is not at the forefront of their thoughts right now.

Following the outbreak of the virus, the 2020 Women’s National League was postponed and is currently scheduled to kick off in the final week of June – three months after the initial date in March.

HerSport Editor

Her Sport is a media platform centred on bringing the latest Irish and international women’s sports news. Her Sport aims to empower women in sport, inspire more female participation, increase opportunity and level the playing field for future generations. Our objective is to create real and tangible change.

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