Republic recharge ahead of Euro opener

Published Wednesday, 06 June 2012
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The Republic of Ireland squad has been enjoying a rare day off from preparations for their opening Euro 2012 game against Croatia in Poznan on Sunday - prompting speculation over the reason behind Giovanni Trapattoni's decision.

Republic recharge ahead of Euro opener
The Republic of Ireland team applaud crowds who welcomed them in Gdynia, Poland. (© PA)

Suggestions have been made that the 73-year-old manager bowed to pressure from his squad before making the call late on Tuesday night, but goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly insisted there wasn't an issue.

"Who are we to question the manager in terms of 50 years' experience?" he said.

"In any situation - in a squad situation in a national team, or indeed in a club - you are always monitoring, you are always looking at the players, you are always looking to what you can do to help them best prepare for a game.

"You never have a set programme or routine, you have always got to be open to change. You have always got to look at it and think: 'Well hang on, we might change this, we might not'.

"The manager made a decision - it gave the staff a little bit of a day off as well. We've been here 22 days, I think it is now, and I think mentally and physically, it's good for everybody that we have been given a bit of time out.

It's all about Sunday. Whatever you have got to do to get them in the right frame of mind mentally and physically, the manager makes that decision.

Alan Kelly, goalkeeping coach

There's good news for the side though, with it looking almost certain that their most-capped player - keeper Shay Given - will be fit for Sunday's game after recovering from a knee injury picked up in training last month.

The 36-year-old Aston Villa man only played 45 minutes of the Republic's nil-all draw against Hungary on Monday night and didn't participate at all in Tuesday night's training session in Gdynia.

But his goalkeeping coach said that, even if the opener was to be held on Wednesday night, Given would play.

"Anybody who has seen Shay over - what is it, 122 caps now? - and his determination to play for Ireland, that's not going to go away," Kelly said.

"To play in the big championships, it's a bit of a cliché, but nobody more so than Shay is desperate to play on Sunday. I don't think wild horses could keep him from being on that pitch."

Kelly explained that Given had been "busting to get involved" in training and that he'd "had to put the old reins on him and keep him back" simply as a precaution, given their overnight travelling.

Stating that if the goalie is fit to play on Sunday, then "he's fit to play", Kelly added that Given would be desperate to play for his team - but that he wouldn't do anything to compromise their overall performance.

"He wouldn't want to do anything that would lessen our chances," he said.

"He is a professional of the highest integrity and I have no qualms or no problems with him going forward and playing on Sunday."

© UTV News
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3 Comments
Ryan in Belfast wrote (809 days ago):
@Paul in NORTHERN Ireland. Paul, the truth is their NOT a foreign team. If you read the Good Friday Agreement, every single Irish Republican/Nationalisst is LEGALLY and OFFICALLY Irish. They are instantly Irish citizen and have the choice to choose British citizenship or Irish Citizenship or both. So, people in the 6 counties is simply supporting their national football team. You can keep screaming that the Republic is foreign till your blue in the face but the truth and reality is is that their not foreign, their Irish, just like almost half the population of the 6 counties. Its a shame bitter people like you are still lurking around the 6 counties.
Paul in NORTHERN Ireland wrote (810 days ago):
Why all the reports on this one foreign team and not others? Many of us will be hoping that Italy, Croatia, and Spain all give them a good hammering.
Ryan in Belfast wrote (812 days ago):
Good luck lads :)
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