Wednesday 28 September 2016

When is a training session not a training session and what does 'day off' mean?

Aidan Fitzmaurice in Versailles

Published 10/06/2016 | 17:07

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

THERE is confusion over the Republic of Ireland's preparations for Euro 2106 ahead of Monday's Group E opener against Sweden in Paris with a question over whether the squad trained, or did not train, in France today.

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A scheduled training session for today [Friday] was cancelled at short notice with the FAI stating the intention of manager Martin O'Neill to give his players the day off, all media access to the squad for today also cancelled.

But it later emerged that the squad today did, on what was claimed to be a day off, visit their training ground in Versailles on their official team bus, though the FAI insist that the trip was not a training session.

O'Neill hinted that the move was to get the players in tune with their schedules at club level, but the sudden change to a planned schedule has been questioned and Swedish media outlets in particular have complained about the non-availability of Irish players and management so close to the game.

Late on Thursday night, the FAI issued a statement informing the media that "Republic of Ireland training scheduled for Friday, June 10 has been cancelled" and that "The squad will be given a day off to recover and will resume full training on Saturday, June 11 in preparation for the UEFA EURO 2016 opener against Sweden on Monday, June 13".

However, a section of the media who were outside the ground did manage to see some members of the squad involved in what appeared to be some light training work at the team's training stadium in Versailles.

Later in the day, the FAI issued a video interview with boss O'Neill, where he stated that "Although we climbed on the bus and went out to the training ground it was really just a walk".

He added: "We’d a day off today. What we decided with the medical staff was that we’d try to stay as close to what the boys would be preparing for, let’s say, club football. With Monday’s game in mind we’ll train a couple of days beforehand".

The squad train again in Versailles tomorrow and in the Stade de France on Sunday.

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