Fermanagh manager Ryan McMenamin says that people need ‘to think of the bigger picture’ as sport takes a backseat while the Coronavirus crisis sweeps the country.

The announcement by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last Thursday that Ireland would be shutting down schools and banning mass gatherings prompted the GAA to call a halt to all of the association’s activities until March 29.

Fermanagh had been due to play Clare in a crunch league encounter last Sunday but that had to be postponed as did this Sunday’s clash with Laois at Brewster Park leaving the GAA calendar in limbo.

“You have to think of the bigger picture in times like this and I think it was the correct thing to do.

“It just seemed to escalate from last Thursday. It was in your mind that it could happen but I didn’t think it was going to escalate as quickly as it did. You just have to adapt to those kind of things,” said the Erne boss, who feels that the health and safety of the nation must come first.

“You have to think about the players health but you are also looking to the players families, any of them with elderly relatives that would be the main concern. The players being young and fit, they should be grand but it is going to be the more vulnerable and the older generation that is going to be struggling.

“It is one of those things, you have to think what best helps the national interests and the national interests is best served by suspending sport and we’ll see where we are at in two weeks and then look at it again,” he commented.

With things continuing to escalate though McMenamin does not expect action to return any time soon.

“It is hard to see, you have to be realistic about it. They expect the worse of the peak to hit around the middle of May which is right into championship time so you could see the season pushed back and delayed or even postponed.

“You have to be realistic, we are four weeks behind Italy, that’s the way I’m looking at it.We are forewarned and it is best to get the preparations ready for it here now.

“With the severity of the situation football has become secondary, you have to accept that, and it is a matter of taking it day by day. We’ve seen a lot can change in a day and hopefully they get on top of the situation,” he added.

With collective training also suspended the Fermanagh players will on their own personalised programmes until such times as they can return to training.

“The boys have their own programmes, once it happened we were on to Leon (Carters) pretty quickly. They are not going to lose too much fitness over a week or two, if it is over a longer term then that’s different, but they have their own programmes for running and weights and that and you would hope that everyone would be as professional as possible in getting it done.

“Look, it’s unprecedented and has never been planned for and hopefully will never be planned for again,” stated McMenamin.

With everything up in the air, McMenamin does admit it is hard on the players as they have nothing fixed to work towards at this very moment.

“There is no point saying we will do x, y or z because nothing is more hateful than a sportsman not having a date to focus on. With the directive that there is no training it is also really hard on the players but as I say you have to look at the bigger picture and I’m sure the players are totally aware of that as well.”

And for the manager, it is a quieter time but he is still plotting and preparing for the challenges ahead when the season does restart.

“It is only one weekend without sport and you would miss it already. Certainly the phone is a lot quieter but, look, you still are preparing and watching videos of the games and that type of thing although you can switch off a bit more,” he concluded.