Lockdown has affected people in different ways but, for the Ireland women’s team, the new world order is the ideal preparation for their ultimate test.
Nothing short of victory in tomorrow’s final qualifier will keep Vera Pauw’s side in contention for the 2022 finals and the fact it’s the best team in Europe blocking their path triggers a sense of perspective.
In normal times, the sight of a Germany side boasting a record of 43 goals and none conceded from their seven straight wins could petrify the Girls in Green.
Yet, the yields from prolonged spells in isolation, particularly for those dotted around Europe like Fiorentina centre-back Louise Quinn, should benefit Ireland.
Around the team’s base at the Castleknock Hotel, it seems, is a mood of calmness and serenity.
Ireland spurned a golden chance to nail a play-off spot by losing narrowly in Ukraine last month but there’s no sense of panic overwhelming the camp.
“There’s definitely been some positives from the lockdown,” reasoned Quinn, an ever-present during Ireland's campaign.
“I think people all over the place were able to work on themselves and create new habits.
“We have taken to mindfulness and yoga. Mindfulness is about looking after your own head. I hear some of the girls here doing yoga in the morning, which we’d never had before. You can kind of sense that good vibe around camp.”
Quinn is back in Ireland for the first time since joining the Italians from Arsenal in June.
That doesn’t mean she’s able to reacquaint with her family due to rules around bubbles and Italy’s erratic Covid-19 trends.
For instance, the 30-year-old had to delay her arrival into camp until a period of isolation for the entire Fiorentina squad was completed.
“The only strain since moving to Italy is the Covid situation,” explained the Blessington native.
“I can’t get any of my family or friends over to visit to experience the place culturally. That’s been tough but another motivation for me. The plan is to see them once Tuesday’s match is over at a social distance outdoors.
"I’m starting to settle and really enjoy my football in Fiorentina. I’ve always been out of my comfort zone, even going back to when I joined Arsenal. There’s a really talented team at Fiorentina. We have the Portuguese captain Claudia Neto, Dutch international Tessel Middag and four players from the Italian national team in the side. I’m looking forward to the last-32 Champions League game coming up next month.”
Whether she returns to Italy with a Euro play-off to also relish next year is the matter at hand.
On paper at least, despite Germany rotating their squad having already qualified, the contest is a mismatch.
Still, sport doesn’t always adhere to script, evidenced by recent shocks in the GAA Championships.
“As a Wicklow woman, I know how massive it is when underdogs win,” Quinn said in the context of the Germany mission.
“People want to celebrate with us in the same way they have with county footballers and hurlers. I figured out there were a lot of people I didn’t know were from Cavan until they popped up out of woodwork over the week. We’ve got to take inspiration from these moments in GAA, especially when they’re so close to home.