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'We'll get through this' | Monaghan ladies star on team's 1000km fundraiser

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We are seeing the very best of humanity in recent weeks and months, and a unique fundraising idea by the Monaghan ladies football team is this week raising money for three very worthy causes.

Starting yesterday the team ditched the football boots for the jogging shoes, and are collectively running 1000 kilometres in a week within the two kilometre radius of their homes.

Four members of the Monaghan senior panel are frontline healthcare workers, and some of the money raised is going towards those fighting the coronavirius pandemic in the health sector.

The other causes benefitting from these charity runs are the mental health charity SOSAD Ireland, and the 'Do It For Dan' fundraiser.

One-year-old Dan Donoher was diagnosed on the 6th of December last with a rare genetic neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 1 and Scoliosis. The life expectancy of an SMA type 1 child is 18-24 months, but his parents are hoping to raise €2 million for a new treatment in the United States that could drastically improve his life quality and expectancy.

One of the Monaghan players working on the frontlines is Eva Woods. She spoke with Off The Ball's Shane Hannon about why they are embarking in this weeks fundraising endeavour.

"My teammates and I, as well as the management, are ditching the football boots for one week. We were up early yesterday morning and already started! We're going to donate our money to three great charities.

"We chose these charities because, for 'Do It For Dan', both of his parents played for Laois [Niall and Aisling Donoher] so we hope to get the GAA communities together, to get good spirit going and pull all clubs and counties together.

"SOSAD is another of the charities. Mental health is a big thing at the moment and it's just as important as your physical health. As footballers we understand the importance of mental health and wellbeing.

"You know, getting out and getting active is really good for the mental health. Then the frontline workers, there are four of us [on the team] on the frontline at the minute.

"We're in there working hard, it's a big change from being out on the football field, it's been a while since we've been on the football field!

"It's tough in there, and we understand the difficulties and challenges that people and families face each day in there. The girls agreed it would be a really good cause."

Woods is currently working as a nurse in Dublin's Beaumont Hospital, and she admits recent weeks and months have been tough.

"It's been different, nothing could have really prepared us for this. It's a different challenge, and you just have to grab it with both hands. Each day we're learning new things about this coronavirus, how it's dealt with, and what we have to do to eradicate it.

"It's a different style of nursing. And it has been tough, not being able to see your family or your friends, isolating up in Dublin, it is difficult. But there are brighter days to come, and we will get through this, we will."

The Corduff clubwoman says they have an app that allows the team to keep track of their daily running and add the kilometres as they close in on the target.

"We have an app that we're all connected to. We have to keep it within the two-kilometre radius of our homes, we all do our bit. Each figure adds up together with everyone else. Hopefully by the end of the week we'll reach the thousand, I'm sure we will!

"At the minute obviously none of us can meet up and train together but, with the likes of Zoom and WhatsApp we're in touch every single day. We're encouraging each other to do this.

9 June 2019; The Monaghan team stand for the national anthem prior to the TG4 Ulster Ladies Senior Football Championship Semi-Final match between Armagh and Monaghan at Pairc Esler in Newry, Down. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

"A couple of the girls came up with the idea of doing the thousand kilometres, we've been training the last couple of weeks [anyway] and doing different types of runs.

"We don't know when we're going to get out on a football field again, so we decided to do this one thousand kilometres, and it's been a really good boost for us all.

"We're all chomping at the bit to get at it, we're all so excited to do it, and just to give something back to the community. We're all keeping each other encouraged and motivating each other along the way, so it's really good."

Monaghan LGFA are all encouraging all ladies clubs in the county to get out and get active tomorrow Tuesday 21st. They are encouraging people to get out in their club colours and post a photo on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #ditchtheboots.

This coming Thursday 23rd they are also asking members of the underage ladies county team to get active and post their own photos on social media.

You can donate to the Monaghan ladies fundraising efforts here.

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Corduff Coronavirus Do It For Dan Eva Woods GAA Ladies Football Monaghan Monaghan GAA Monaghan LGFA Off The Ball

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