Sunday 11 December 2016

Ireland's Aviva 'blackout'

Published 28/04/2015 | 02:30

Martin O'Neill said that holding the match behind closed doors will give his squad the flexibility to make any changes he sees fit ahead of the European qualifiers on June 13.
Martin O'Neill said that holding the match behind closed doors will give his squad the flexibility to make any changes he sees fit ahead of the European qualifiers on June 13.

Former Northern Ireland captain Martin O'Neill will welcome Michael O'Neill's current generation to the Aviva Stadium for a June 4 training game that will take place behind closed doors.

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Fans and media will be prevented from watching a rare north/south encounter that the two bosses will use to build the fitness of players operating below the Premier League whose season ends this weekend unless they are involved in the play-offs. The unofficial status permits the use of rolling subs and no limits to any other experimental changes the managers want to make during the match.

Northern Ireland have made an excellent start to their Euros campaign under the ex-Shamrock Rovers boss and they are preparing for a key encounter with Romania on June 13, the same night that Scotland visit Dublin for a game that could end up defining the elder O'Neill's tenure in charge.

It means Ireland will play three of their four closest neighbours this summer with England at the Aviva for an official friendly on June 7.

"With the season ending early for a lot of our players, we see this as a mutually beneficial exercise," said Martin O'Neill.

"Holding the match behind closed doors will give us the flexibility to make any changes we see fit ahead of the European qualifiers on June 13."

Irish Independent

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