Marian McGuinness Ex-Armagh women's gaelic footballer recovering from Covid-19

Marian McGuinness in action for Armagh ladies in 2018
Marian McGuinness is now retired from inter-county football but is still playing for Cavan club Latton

All-Ireland title winning women's gaelic footballer Marian McGuinness is in self-isolation after testing positive for coronavirus last Friday.

The former Armagh player contracted the illness in her physiotherapy role at Cavan General Hospital.

Originally, she had been scheduled to fly out to Texas on Wednesday to undertake physio duties on the Women's All Star Gaelic Football tour.

"I felt sick and insanely tired," said the 34-year-old Carrickcruppen native.

"I came home from work and went to bed at 6.30 in the evening, which I'd never do.

"I was telling myself that it was just in my head, because of all the talk about it, and my temperature was normal.

"But I woke up on the Wednesday and felt really tired and really sore, as if I'd played an intense match.

"I was still hoping it was in my head and I tried to do some exercise, squats and press-ups, but I couldn't do them.

"I thought that it would be best then that I didn't go to work and I developed a temperature later that day, and a small cough three days later."

Marian McGuinness celebrates with Armagh team-mates after their 2012 All-Ireland Intermediate Final win over Waterford
Marian McGuinness helped Armagh beat Waterford in the 2012 All-Ireland Intermediate Football Final

McGuinness earned Ulster and All-Ireland honours

Now retired from the inter-county game, McGuinness has a wealth of club and inter-county memories to reflect upon, including county titles with Carrickcruppen, and Ulster glory in Armagh colours.

She had recently completed a switch to the Lacken Ladies club in Cavan, and was looking forward to getting a solid pre-season under her belt, in preparation for competitive fare.

But last Tuesday week, 34-year-old McGuinness first experienced symptoms of what would turn out to be the coronavirus.

McGuinness was tested on that Wednesday, and received a positive result for Covid-19 on the Friday.

She contracted the virus from a hospital in-patient who had initially tested negative for coronavirus, and was in for a different illness, but who later became unwell and tested positive on another test.

The Armagh woman lives in Cavan town with two other physios, one of whom is also positive, and it's been left to the other to make breakfast, lunch and dinner, and knock at her housemates' room doors to let them know that food has arrived.

Now feeling '70-80% better'

McGuinness says that she's now feeling "70-80% better."

But she added: "It's a bit odd, yesterday I felt really bad again and spent the whole day in bed.

"Today, I feel I could go out and nearly go for a jog!

"The plan would be for me to go back to work after 14 days.

"So, if I feel well from today, and the next four days, that would be 14 days."

When asked for the best advice she would offer in light of the current pandemic, McGuinness responds: "Don't doubt yourself. Even my physio colleagues who have tested positive, we all doubted ourselves even when we were getting symptoms.

"It's only that I had gone to bed early that evening and slept for 14 hours, and woke up feeling really bad….I had a responsibility to be sure.

"I was still 50-50 wanting to go to work but I thought no, don't doubt yourself and if you think you have symptoms, take time off work, isolate, and see how you are in a few days.

"If I had gone in that day, I would have spread it to five or six more people, at least.

"There are other symptoms not talked about as much. Smell and taste are the big ones for me - I still have no smell or taste at all."