Connacht Rugby are assisting an academy player who has tested positive for COVID-19.
 
The player, who is asymptomatic, was a close contact of a positive case and has been self-isolating since last Wednesday.
 
All other PCR tests carried out on Connacht Rugby players and staff this week were negative and training resumed today (Tuesday).
 
One academy player has been identified as a close contact and he will continue to self-isolate.
 
The HSE has been informed in accordance with public health guidelines.

The IRFU (Irish Rugby Football Union) can confirm that the PCR testing of players and staff at Connacht and Ulster produced zero positive results. 118 players and staff were tested on Wednesday 24th June in Connacht and Ulster.
 
The PCR testing was carried out by Cork based company Advanced Medical Services on behalf of the IRFU.
 
The staff and players have been cleared to access their respective High Performance Centres from Monday 29th June.
 
From the 29th June all four provincial senior squads will be back training in modified groups.
 
To date there have been 258 tests conducted across the professional player and staff group and zero positive tests reported.
 
IRFU Medical Director Rod McLoughlin commented, “The first phase of PCR testing has been successfully completed. The players and staff now enter a period of daily medical screening and assessment. The second phase of testing will take place as players return to contact.”

We have been blown away by the response to the release of our limited-edition Heroes jersey in aid of ALONE and the Galway and Mayo/Roscommon hospices. We truly appreciate the generosity from our fantastic supporters.

Thanks to your kindness and support we have raised much-needed funds to support them as they continue to help our community.

This jersey represents the hard work that they put in every day to help our most vulnerable in society. We look forward to seeing our supporters wearing this jersey with pride in support of our Heroes.

For now, the game will be won by staying at home, there will be brighter and healthier days ahead, when we can all venture out to support Connacht Rugby at home in The Sportsground once again.

Connacht Rugby, along with our partners Elverys and BLK, have collaborated to create a special and unique, Limited-Edition ‘Heroes’ jersey in aid of ALONE and the Galway and Mayo/Roscommon Hospices.

During these unprecedented times, ALONE and the Hospices are unrelenting in their support of our most vulnerable in society. To support their trojan efforts and by way of support to all our front-line workers, 100% of profits from this Limited-Edition jersey will go directly to ALONE and the two Connacht-based Hospices.

The jersey sports a unique design inspired by Superheroes, reminding us that they are not the only ones who wear capes and is our way of saying thanks to all Superheroes fighting day in, day out to makes the lives of the most vulnerable better.

The caption ‘Home Advantage’ reminds us that for now, this game is won by staying at home, but is also a nod to what will be brighter and healthier days ahead, when we can all venture out to support Connacht Rugby at home in The Sportsground once again, wearing this ‘Heroes’ shirt with pride.

Connacht Rugby would like to thank all our sponsors who donated their normal logo space to help make this jersey possible.

ALONE’s support line is available at 0818 222 024 from 8am-8pm, seven days a week, supporting the clinical advice and information being provided by the HSE.

The ALONE helpline offers advice and support for COVID-19 and other issues that are coming up for older people at this time, including difficulties in relation to physical and mental health, loneliness, isolation, finance, safety, and housing. For more information see www.alone.ie 

Galway Hospice can be contacted on 091 77 0868 for general enquires or if you wish to help with fundraising, volunteering or recruitment.

The Mayo/Roscommon Hospice are available on 094 938 8666 and you can visit www.hospice.ie for further enquiries.

Where can I get this jersey?
The limited-edition jersey is available exclusively on a pre-order basis from Wednesday 13th May on www.elverys.ie and costs just €70 for an adult and starts at €48 for kids. But hurry, only a limited number of these once-off jerseys will be produced and orders will be fulfilled on a first come, first serve basis.

All orders have to be place by 23rd May.

There is an expected delivery time of five to six weeks as these jerseys are being produced specifically for each individual once orders are placed.

Thank you for playing your part by supporting the Connacht Rugby Limited-Edition Heroes Jersey in aid of ALONE and the Galway & Mayo/Roscommon Hospices.

#StrongerAtHome #HomeAdvantage

PURCHASE THE LIMITED-EDITION HEROES JERSEY HERE

Aidan O’Flynn is a Personal Development Officer at Connacht Rugby. As part of his role, he regularly meets with pro players, academy players and staff to help them in their mental well-being off the field, to help them perform on the field or in the office.
 
Due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, Aidan has been kind enough to pen the below article and share a few ideas to help Connacht Rugby supporters cope with any stress and uncertainty they are experiencing.
 
 
These are indeed challenging times where all our resources are being called on.
 
Our mental fortitude in particular is being tested in an ever changing and evolving situation. We are in a foreign country with no roadmap. Anxiety and fear are our constant companions as we wonder what the future holds for ourselves and our loved ones. Uncertainty is the breeding ground for anxiety and fear.
 
As humans, when we feel uncertain and under threat, a system called our ‘fight or flight’ response is activated. This is a stress response system that super-charges us, in readiness to repel any physical threat. However this system is also activated when we are under emotional stress. In this state our thinking often shifts from logic and reason to emotional thinking. Here we fall into the many thinking traps associated with emotional thinking. A few of these common thinking traps are ‘catastrophizing’ ‘all or nothing’ and ‘predicting the future’ thinking traps. Emotional thinking is often irrational…as witnessed by the panic for toilet paper in recent weeks! So, what can we do to lessen the impact of stress and steer a clearer path through this difficult time? Here are some ideas that you and your family might find helpful.
 
Identify what’s important
As our lives shrink it can be important to connect with the core principles that guide our lives, namely, our Values. Staying connected to our values can help create meaning and ground us emotionally. In this storm, our values are like our lighthouse that help us steer a path to calmer water. It might be useful to identify 3 values that you hold and see how you can activate these values to serve your present circumstances. If for example kindness is a value for you, then perhaps see where in your daily life you can activate your kindness towards others and yourself.
 
Make room for fear and anxiety
It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious and fearful in these uncertain times. In reality we don’t like to feel pain…especially emotional pain. We use all kinds of strategies to avoid it. (e.g. alcohol, overworking, overeating, excessive exercise). This avoidance can cause us to bottle-up unwanted feelings. In the long term this can have a poor effect on our mental wellbeing. If we allow ourselves to connect with our difficult feelings, even though it feels uncomfortable, we tend to alleviate the growing stress within us. Perhaps you could try writing down in a diary or journal how you are truly feeling. Alternatively, take time to check-in with yourself and ask “what am I feeling right now”. Simply acknowledging your feeling in this way can have a truly positive effect.
 
Control what you can
While a lot of control has been taken away from us right now, we still have lots we can control. We can control our time on social media, our routines, our physical and emotional wellbeing, and our goals for each day. We can make decisions on how we will act and behave. Spending too much time on ‘what if’s’ can lead to overwhelming feelings and feelings of helplessness. Try to avoid spending time and emotional resources on things that are out of your control.
 
Practice being Present
It’s not possible to stay in the present all the time and it is important to plan your future. By connecting to your present you are anchoring or grounding yourself. In reality the only moment you really have is this present moment…the past is gone and your future has not arrived… yet. This might be a great time to start that mindfulness practice that you didn’t have time for before. I might touch more on some practical and fun ways you can practice mindfulness in the future. Many apps are now offering free access to their services. One of my favourites is ‘Headspace’ and is used by many of our players.
 
Turn to your creative side
We have long understood the positive benefits that the arts have on our mental wellbeing. Now is the time to take out those art materials that have been hiding in your cupboard waiting for your attention. Write that short story that has been brewing away inside. Search for that tin whistle or dusty guitar that you keep tripping over when looking for something else! Go for a walk with your camera and take some photographs of things that grab your attention. Whatever art activity you do, try and approach it with the attitude and mindset that your 5 year old self would take. Leave the art critic outside the door!
 
My final thought is that you will discover in this difficult time inner strengths that you never knew you had….I know this for sure!!
 
Stay safe, stay kind.

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