Connacht Rugby may be confined to quarters but Covid-19 in not stopping its team members from reaching out to their community.
A questionnaire was recently sent out to season ticket holders, asking what the team can offer by way of support.
“We’re trying to formulate a way to keep morale high among the community, “ says Connacht and Ireland player Jack Carty.
Along with other team players on Tuesday night, he picked up the phone. “I rang two boys, one aged 13, one aged eight. Then I rang a woman who is in hospital with a broken leg — I spoke to her for 20 minutes or so.
“Next, I phoned a mum whose son is a season ticket holder. She didn’t have a clue who was ringing her or why I was ringing her.”
It would seem coronavirus is not the only leveller.
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What shape are you in?
I managed to get up to Dublin before the (lockdown) to get an assault bike for the house in Knocknacarra, Galway. Last week all the provinces dissembled their gyms, giving the equipment to the players.
There is not enough equipment for everyone so they’ve split it up. The coaches have designed a programme for us. Connacht player Johnny Murphy is living in the house with me. There a grass area out the back so we’ve been doing training together in the mornings.
What are your healthiest eating habits?
Johnny makes overnight oat for us. The recipe is oats, low-fat milk, two scoops of chocolate whey protein. I try to wolf that into me first thing in the morning.
What are your guiltiest pleasures?
Johnny has an Instagram page — he plays hooker so it’s called the Hungry Hooker. He does a lot of baking for it, so probably my guilty pleasure would be his homemade treats.
What would keep you awake at night?
If I’d too much coffee during the day. Or nerves before games.
How do you relax?
I walk my dog— Willow, a hungarian vizsla. I would have played a lot of PlayStation when I was younger so this is a nice thing to do.
Who are your sporting heroes?
When I was younger it would have been Ronan O’Gara and Roy Keane — I supported Man United and he was captain at the time.
What’s your favourite smell?
Lavender. But my girlfriend, Rebecca McLoughlin, hates it so I can’t really use it around the house that much.
What would you like to change about your appearance?
I’m on the cusp of 5’11- 6ft. I’d like if I could get another inch to say I’m 6ft.
When is the last time you cried?
I watched the movie Country Strong recently — that moved me a bit. I wouldn’t say there were any tears or anything like that.
What traits do you least like in others?
Negativity. It can bring others down. It’s easy to be a great teammate when things are going well for you. It’s when things aren’t going well and how you react and treat others [you see another side of a person]. I’ve been fortunate in that we haven’t had many many players like that in Connacht because of the culture we have.
What traits do you least like in yourself?
I wish I could relax a bit more. My girlfriend says I’m always on the move, always trying to do something.
Do you pray?
What would cheer up your day?
FaceTime my niece and nephew who are in Athlone. Juliette is aged two and Ted recently just turned one. We missed his birthday because of the isolation.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
I went to Phuket for the new year with my girlfriend. It was the best holiday I’ve been on.
What quote inspires you the most?
A speech by Teddy Roosevelt — The Man in the Arena.
It says you can get a lot of criticism from outside but you’re the person who is in the arena and the buck stops with you. So do not worry about what other people say or think about you.
No one knows the work you put in and they can only see the product at the end of it.