Friday 30 September 2016

Martin O'Neill formalises Euro preparations as fans snap up coveted tickets

Published 15/12/2015 | 02:30

Martin O’Neill is set to meet with FAI chief John Delaney to discuss summer plans
Martin O’Neill is set to meet with FAI chief John Delaney to discuss summer plans

Martin O'Neill will meet with FAI CEO John Delaney tomorrow to finalise his wish list ahead of next summer's European Championships.

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The association are on the verge of securing a deal which will see Versailles function as their base camp during the tournament. O'Neill and assistant Roy Keane inspected the facilities in the FAI's preferred destination over the weekend and they are satisfied with the arrangements in a historic city which is just a short distance away from Paris.

With an announcement expected in that regard this week, the next step will be to confirm the location for a short pre-tournament training camp before moving into France.

A trip to Austria or Spain is likely. Austria has become an extremely popular location for training camps, with a wide array of options available. Before last summer's World Cup in Brazil, it was the choice for a number of competing nations and Premier League clubs Chelsea, Everton and Leicester have travelled there in recent years.

Ireland spent eight days training in Montecatini and played a friendly against Hungary in Budapest before arriving in Poland ahead of Euro 2012, a stint away which proved to be unpopular with the squad because of the length and the rigorous schedule.

O'Neill has indicated that he will do things differently to his predecessor, Giovanni Trapattoni, so his training camp will be a shorter affair. A return to Italy is not completely out of the question, but Austria and Spain are at the head of the list at this juncture.

Before they travel, the Aviva Stadium will stage a farewell friendly with Holland on course to arrive in town barring a late hitch. Holland are a friendly opponent in demand after their high-profile failure to make the finals, but the FAI made an early play and securing the attractive fixture would represent a coup.

A number of other competing nations have tried to arrange games with the Dutch in advance of the tournament. England will welcome Danny Blind's side to Wembley for a game in March. Ireland will play Switzerland and Slovakia at the Aviva in March, and O'Neill was keen to secure a quality opponent for the end of May.

Applying

Tickets for the Euros went on sale yesterday with fans applying through the official portal. The FAI will provide more specific details on the Irish allocation this week.

Meanwhile, Bournemouth's Junior Stanislas has paid tribute to Irish international Harry Arter for his courageous showing in Saturday's Premier League win over Manchester United. Arter produced an outstanding display at the end of a horrendous week where his newborn daughter passed away.

"He showed tremendous bravery and courage to go out there and play," said Stanislas, who raced straight to Arter after he opened the scoring.

"As soon as we heard the news, we were all around him, giving him calls and messages and supporting him in training as well. But to deliver a performance like that under the circumstances was remarkable."

Irish Independent

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