GAA Football

Patrick McBride's lockdown digest: Skipping training for a fry-up and the value of walking

Antrim's Patrick McBride takes us through a day in the life in lockdown Picture: Cliff Donaldson

In a new series, we delve into the week that was and ask local sports stars how they're dealing with lockdown. Brendan Crossan kicks this first instalment off and finds out how Antrim footballer Patrick McBride is getting on without his favourite pizza parlour...

Name: Patrick McBride

County: Antrim

Club: St John's

Lockdown routine: Making it up as I go along... Monday to Friday I do school work online. I'm trying to stay active and get a good few hours of FIFA practice in at the same time.

Best thing about lockdown: I am learning to appreciate how refreshing it is to go for a nice walk.

Worst thing about lockdown: No sport to play, watch or even talk about. And Goodfellas being closed.

Favourite training drill: In-house game. There's nothing better than when you turn up to training and you hear it's a match.

Least favourite training drill: Running with no ball involved.

If you didn’t play Gaelic football which sport would you be playing: Soccer, but I would definitely join a Basketball team.

Five dinner guests and reasons why you’d invite them: Tyson Fury, Bruce Springsteen, Shaquille O'Neal, Kevin Bridges, Henrik Larsson. Legends.

Best sporting memory: Winning the U21 club championships with all my mates and ‘Fitzy’ [Mathew Fitzpatrick] texting me asking could I lend him a travel plug to charge his phone in London.

Worst sporting memory: Pat Hughes drove home from training and left me and CJ McGourty at Jordanstown for shaking his van.

Best sick-note excuse: Chris Kerr got lost trying to find Dunsilly.

Favourite film: Batman. The Dark Knight.

Tell us something we don’t know about you: ‘Fitzy’ and me were driving to training one morning and we were starving. Our mate just opened a new breakfast place. We discussed it and decided to pull over on the motorway. Take a few photos of him looking in the car bonnet (see picture above, left), send the photo into the management and say the car broke down. So we went for a fry instead. He ditched us to play soccer so I am sinking him here - it was all his idea!

Toughest opponent: Darren O'Hagan

Fastest team-mate: Tomas McCann

Favourite GAA player: Paddy McAleer, the Swan.

Guilty pleasure: Pizza all day long.

Best pitch you played on: Casement Park. It was the best surface in Ireland.

Ideal day off: Down to Hatch for coffee and lunch. Somewhere nice for the day. Out for dinner and a film after.

Any match-day superstitions: No, I don't have any but I like when there is good music played in the changing room.

Most annoying team-mate: Declan Lynch. He seems to forget his pin a lot when we get coffees before training.



Sports book of the week:

PROMPTED by the BBC’s excellent World Cup rewind series, Andrew Downie’s 2017 biography on former Brazilian great Socrates deserves a shout-out and is the perfect sporting companion during lockdown. Entitled ‘Doctor Socrates: Footballer, Philosopher, Legend’ charts the rise and fall of the free-spirited midfielder. Downie delves into the player’s political flirtations, his beer-swilling, chain-smoking and womanizing – but most of all he captures the bearded one’s genius on the football field.

Sports documentary of the week:

IT’S had a few outings on BT Sport during lockdown but there isn’t a better sports documentary on the circuit than ‘The Two Escobars’. This engrossing film charts the life of notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar and former Colombian defender and national hero Andres Escobar, and how each of them met their bloody fate in their native Colombia. While it’s a harrowing account of the drugs business and how it infected the domestic game in Colombia, the film also provides a reminder of just how talented the national team was that sadly floundered at the 1994 World Cup final in USA.

Story of the week...

THE welcome return home of “warrior baby” Camille Murray after the gorgeous four-month-old girl underwent life-saving heart surgery in Dublin. Doting father and Antrim GAA footballer Conor Murray explained that his wife and three other children had to live separately for a month due to the pandemic in order for little Camille to get her surgery. Conor, wife Laura, Roma (8), Jude (4), Thea (2) and Camille were finally reunited earlier this week.

Remembering old rivals…

IN Neil Loughran’s new ‘Best of Enemies’ series, he discusses with Owen Mulligan the Tyrone man's toughest opponents, one of whom was unsurprisingly Armagh’s Francie Bellew. The Cookstown man recalls trying to draw the unassuming Crossmaglen man into a verbal match, but Francie was having none of it, as Mulligan recalls: “Francie didn’t go in for the verbals. I tried to get a bit going with him in one of the matches in Croke Park by saying he was gorgeous but he just looked back at me, smiled and said ‘so are you’. I was pretty happy with that outcome so I just left it.”

Twitter account of the week…

THE irreverent story-telling of former Irish League footballer and Spain-based Gerry Flynn [@GerryFlynn3] could keep a nation going. Flynn’s football dairy yarns from yesteryear initially began as a way of killing the lockdown boredom in his Murcia home but quickly morphed into one of the best things on social media.

Shafts of light…

SHANGHAI GAA returned to the training field in mid-April after lockdown restrictions were eased, which gives the sporting world hope. Of course, China’s lockdown was much stricter than the one being practiced in the UK and Ireland, which accelerated their return to some type of normality. Speaking to The Irish News earlier this week, Newry native James Moan, who is a playing member and vice-chairman of Shanghai GAA, explained that the Chinese authorities could trace the whereabouts of its citizens through a QR colour code system over the previous 15 or 16 days.

He said: “The government here were unbelievably strict in terms of what you could and couldn’t do, they were very helpful at the same time because you were getting text messages every day encouraging no mass gatherings, social distancing, washing hands... all the things you would expect them to say but it was appreciated, especially in our case in a very foreign country, and very much on our own.”

Words to the wise…

“One thing that I hope will come out of all this is that we no longer see restaurant workers, takeaway drivers, delivery drivers, care workers, nurses, people in the service industry – as ‘unskilled’ or not worthy of a decent contract, a decent wage, decent holidays and that they be rewarded for the fantastic work that they do. That would be the lesson I’d take out of the last six weeks.” – former Antrim footballer Anto Finnegan

Best impersonator of the week…

BENNY Tierney’s seven-minute video posted on Armagh GAA’s social media platforms was comedy gold. To add a bit of humour to Armagh GAA’s Skills Challenge, the self-proclaimed “former legend” introduced himself as the man who “single-handedly led Armagh to the All-Ireland in 2002”. Adorning a ridiculous wig and sounding exactly like well-known broadcaster Eamonn Mallie, Tierney explained to viewers he decided not to take part in the skills challenge himself due to “a complete lack of interest”.


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