For months, Dr Con Murphy had warned against the mental toll of isolation through Covid, only for a realisation to dawn that he was falling victim to that predicament himself.
The revered doctor to Cork's county teams since 1976, Con formally retired last December, transferring his GP practice over to son, Colm. But retirement was never intended as closure. Though Colm will be the hurlers' team doctor and Aidan Kelleher will look after the footballers, Con's intention is still to be a presence "in the background".
The GAA, he says, is "the only interest I have. It's my social life".
Summer evenings at training had been so fundamental to the natural rhythm of his days, without them he feels lost now.
"It's funny" he says. "I've been stressing to others how people need to mind themselves mentally and, suddenly, I'm a classic example of one of those people myself.
"It has wrecked my head a fair bit. Cork aren't training, so I've ended up meeting no-one. And, if you're in rural Ireland, there's absolutely nowhere you can meet now. You can't even meet a fella at tea-time for one or two pints.
"I've no doubt that this is coming at a terrible cost to people's morale."
As Thursday's evening news confirmed that devastating outbreak at a food processing plant in Kildare, Lar Corbett was driving home to Thurles from Killarney.
He'd travelled south to investigate a pizza concept he'd heard of in a thriving bar in the town. Lar, whose pub has been closed since March, had to queue for 50 minutes in the street just to gain access to a palpably healthy business.
And the contrast between Killarney and the dark, lifeless villages he passed through driving home could not have been starker. Once out of the tourist environment, everywhere bore the sediment of abandonment.
"Lights off, 'For Sale' signs, just derelict," reflected the 2010 Hurler of the Year yesterday. "Killarney was buzzing. Actually, when I got there, my first thought was, 'Jesus, they must have a cure for the virus down here!' You see, there's no longer a sense of us all being in this together.
"The tourist hotspots are thriving, but it's not a pretty picture in rural towns and villages that never had that kind of footfall. Places that just had their locals."
Corbett recently rang Thomas Callanan - secretary of his club, Thurles Sarsfields - just to get an understanding of the ticketing logistics involved under the current maximum of 200 people being allowed on-site at GAA games.
Sarsfields currently have 45 players in training with their senior panel alone, only 24 of whom can be officially catered for under that arrangement. Callanan explained that they effectively have to buy tickets for the remaining players to ensure the full panel can attend.
"So a lot of the so-called spectators in that 200 are the subs from both teams," says Corbett.
"Yet playgrounds are full. Shopping centres are full. Beaches are full. And if you ask me, kids in playgrounds are worse than any nightclub. They're licking the same things, picking up the same stones, coming down the same slide, the same swing. Every kid is touching everything in that playground.
"Two weeks ago, we were down in Kinsale and came back by a farm where the kids can pet the animals and play on slides and swings. And 800 people went through their doors that Saturday. They were absolutely packed. Yet GAA stadia are empty.
"To me, the GAA and a pint form a huge part of many people's lives and both are virtually non-existent for a lot of people in rural Ireland today.
"You might have the stereotypical older, bachelor man whose local pub is closed and he may not have the means or the know-how to watch GAA games online.
"He's cocooned for months already. What social outlet does he have? What impact is this having on his mental health?"
For many, it feels as if the air is being sucked out of rural Ireland.
Former Mayo footballer, David Brady, has been universally praised for his initiative in making phone calls to cocooning GAA men, just so they might have a sense of connection that today's circumstances otherwise deny them.
Brady insists that he himself has gained more from the calls than any recipient, yet worries now that - denied the release of going to matches or the human connection of a pub - many are facing a desperate mental struggle.
"People's networks are very, very small," he explains. "Again we're talking about our mothers, our fathers, people in their sixties, seventies or eighties. It's not a sob story, but this is a reality for a lot of men especially.
"The pub is an old man's front living-room. I talked to a man down in Newport in Mayo. He'd normally go to the pub four or five times a week in the evening-time, but it wouldn't be for the pints. It's for the conversation. Monday night would be his favourite night, just talking about the previous day's games.
"I don't know do we realise how important a role pubs play in a lot of society. Yes, we can point to Ireland having a high alcohol consumption, but the pub is an outlet too. It's a very male-dominated environment from Monday to Thursday, but I think loneliness is a huge thing in people's lives that can be eliminated by going to the pub.
"You know it's only now I'm realising that men I'd always have referred to as being 'fond of the pint' wouldn't actually dream of having a drink at home. Because it's not the alcohol they're chasing. It's the company.
"Why are we always talking about men? Fair question. But men are a different animal, especially men born in the 1930s, '40s, '50s. They grew up in a different world. We're probably more naturally communicative, but old men don't really have very personal relationships."
This week's revelations, if anything, seemed to push the concept of any return to normality even further into the distance, the chances of an inter-county championship surely hanging on a weak hinge.
As Brady put it: "Let's be honest, if this is October and Kildare were playing Mayo tomorrow, given Dr Ronan Glynn's advice, you'd be very hesitant to go anywhere near it. I think there's very little chance we'll have an unscathed inter-county championship."
Dr Con Murphy agrees, suggesting that most counties now face the real threat of running out of money. "There is no income coming in," he says. "And there won't be either.
"And, remember, our medical advisors are going to have to tread very warily because they've no previous experience of this. So it feels as if everything just hangs by a thread."
Corbett sees the anxiety and frustration building up on his doorstep.
"If the inter-county championship isn't played and the pubs stay closed 'til Christmas, what do rural people have left to look forward to?" he asks. "Nphet's job is to stop the virus and save lives, I get that.
"But the Government's job is to give the people hope. Maybe if there was a chance that Micheál Martin wasn't going to get paid next week, there'd be a greater sense of urgency about this. But there's no risk value to those people making the decisions.
"They say we're all in this together but, if we are, the consequences should be the same for everyone."
He does it in such a nonchalant manner that there is little time to digest what's about to follow as Ger Hartmann lifts up his T-shirt and points to the colostomy bag that changed his life forever.