Tuesday 27 September 2016

Ireland cancel training and all media three days before Sweden clash

John Brennan

Published 09/06/2016 | 23:14

Ireland players, from left to right, David Meyler, Stephen Ward, Richard Keogh, Jonathan Walters, Aidan McGeady and Daryl Murphy during squad training
Ireland players, from left to right, David Meyler, Stephen Ward, Richard Keogh, Jonathan Walters, Aidan McGeady and Daryl Murphy during squad training

Ireland's team training session scheduled for Friday morning was cancelled with the FAI also cancelling all media activity.

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It was the last act of a strange day which saw team manager Martin O'Neill reveal that his two-year contract extension, revealed on Thursday, was only sealed on a handshake with the Association's Chief Executive John Delaney.

O'Neill has often worked in this loose way during his managerial career and has often said does not see the need to be tied down to formal written contracts.

But it was still strange to tell everyone that much and it is strange too to abort a training session three days before the game against Sweden that is so vital to Ireland's chances of doing well at Euro 2016.

The manager and his staff did work the players hard at their Montbauron base in Versailles on Thursday, but they can hardly do so on Saturday as the game nears and Sunday's outing in the Stade de France will be little more than a pre-match kickabout.

Maybe O'Neill feels his has already done enough work with his players in Dublin and Cork in the past fortnight and that now it is time to ensure they are primed and ready to go when the action starts on Monday evening.

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