“You’ll do a column,” says the sports editor.

“On what!” says I.

“You’ll think of something,” says he.

“It’ll be short,”, says I.

“It’ll be grand, sure you write too much anyway.” says he.

So anyway, here we are. Blank screen. So, forgive me if this isn’t your traditional GAA column.

To be honest, I don’t really know where this column is going. So maybe I should just tell you where it is starting. Well, right this minute I’m drinking tea in what Fr Brian D’Arcy calls God’s country. Bellanaleck to everyone else. I’m also having a toasted pancake with enough butter to drown a mouse. And, my six-year-old is asking me how to beat the boss on level 2 b on Luigi’s Mansion 3 on the Nintento Switch.

I tell him the screens will have to go off soon, before then explaining that he needs to wait until the boss is tired from all the spinning and then stun him and suck him up with his ghost catcher thingy-me-jig. I also tell him that he will have to start some schoolwork later. He tells me that he is off for St Patrick’s Day and not coronavirus and that tomorrow is the first “official day” he will be off “cos of this stupid virus”.

I can’t disagree with his logic, nor his assertion that the virus is stupid. It is also scary. He knows that too. Anyway, the tea is getting cold and I haven’t got anywhere. Maybe the sports editor is right. I write too much. Back to God’s country. It is fair to say we have all experienced some twists and turns in our life and for me taking a left on the Sligo Road and ending up out here was one of those twists.

Growing up I was a townie. And embraced it to the full. In fact, it used to annoy me a little that I couldn’t claim to be born between the bridges. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am still a townie, as I am reminded quite a bit out here, but I have also embraced what I describe as semi-country life. I’m not going to venture onto a farm or anything, but I don’t mind the associated aromas if you like.

It is a great community. Eclectic and beautiful and quaint in parts too. It also must have some sort of strange draw for journalists. The Deputy Editor of this newspaper, Rodney Edwards, lives over the back fence, and BBC journalist, Julian Fowler, lives across the road. Ciaran McBrien, who played for Belnaleck and Fermanagh before he jetted off down under, was fond of telling me I was the third best journalist in Bellanaleck. He didn’t know Louise Cullen of the Beeb lives here too or I’m sure I would have dropped a place.

For me the GAA club has been a big part of my integration into the community. Blow-in townies are welcomed with open arms. Last week I sent a tweet to another blow-in townie in the Belnaleck club, Lauri McCusker. It was from a Derry club and explained the work that they were doing to help local people. The general gist of my message was that the club should do the same ASAP and that the senior players would help.

Lauri said he agreed and said the wheels were in motion but that other community groups in the area should be involved too. He was spot on. And so, I found myself at a meeting with representatives of a multitude of other community organisations. I never knew there was so many. Bellanaleck Community Association, Gransha Hall Management Committee, Cleenish Community Association, Killesher Community Development Association, Florencecourt Group of Parishes. There are probably a few more too.

I suppose what I am getting at is that we rightly hold the GAA up as a fantastic organisation in terms of the work that it does in the community but there are lots of organisations out there that do fantastic work. And now is a time for everyone to come together.

Dr. Ronan O’Hare said this week that the answer for limiting the spread of coronavirus lies in the community. To take it further it lies at a hyper local level. It lies not just in towns and villages but in townlands and on streets and on rural country roads.

The answer lies in making sure that every single person in the community, who needs to isolate themselves, knows they have support and help from their neighbours.

This is a horrific time. And I’m not scaremongering when I say that. The lives of our loved ones are at stake. Let’s all come together. Let’s get co-ordinated. Let’s plan for the long haul. People will need help and support for months. Let’s make sure, as GAA people, that we help lead the way and that we bring all with us. I know we will.

It is great to see our national stadium, Croke Park, used for community testing. I hope we very soon reach that stage here north of the border, and no doubt the association will throw open its gates. I have never been prouder of the GAA, or more certain of good it will do.