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O'Connell never off duty with Kerry or Guards

Kerry footballer Aishling O'Connell has been on the front-lines of the crisis through her work as a Garda and is looking forward to a return to action, writes Dan Kearney

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Kerry footballer Aishling O’Connell

Kerry footballer Aishling O’Connell

SPORTSFILE

Kerry footballer Aishling O’Connell

In her five years as a Kerry senior footballer, this is definitely the strangest one that Aishling O'Connell has put down. The 23-year-old Cordal native has witnessed the football season grind to a halt, and she has also seen herself thrust into the front-line in her work as a garda, as Ireland battles to control the Covid-19 pandemic. O'Connell was enjoying her best ever season in a Kerry jersey prior to the lock-down, and although things have changed dramatically on the sporting front, the rampaging centre half back is performing a much more important role in her work base in Bandon, Cork.

"The only thing that's stayed the same really is the fact that I'm still working," she told The Kerryman this week. "It's more community based at the moment, just trying to make sure that everyone is staying safe and following the guidelines from the HSE, and we are doing a lot of check-points as you can imagine. I suppose all in all ninety-five percent of the people are genuine enough, genuine travels and stuff, so I suppose in one way it's a good way to meet the community, although maybe not in the normal circumstances.

"We check a lot on the vulnerable because there's a lot of people cocooning, there's a lot of people living at home and we've been calling to them, getting their prescriptions for them. All the little things, even visiting people makes a difference.