Thursday 22 February 2018

All work and some play for Irish squad

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Ten members of Giovanni Trapattoni's squad have been in camp since last Thursday. The rest joined up over Sunday and Monday. They are now settling into a routine that will take them to Euro 2012.

The change of scenery in Italy will provide some differences but, with Trapattoni planning to do double training sessions in Montecatini, the players are getting a feel for what's coming down the road. So what exactly are they doing in Portmarnock this week? Here, we take a look at yesterday as a typical day.

9.30:

The players filter down to the team room for breakfast, although they don't sit down and eat anything too heavy before the first training session of the day at 10.30.

Trapattoni and some other early risers are around beforehand, but the majority of the group land down around this time and eat something light to kick off the day.

A large noticeboard lays out the schedule for the day.

10.30:

Gym work. Trapattoni takes his squad to Gannon Park, Malahide, where the facilities are ideal for pre-training strength and conditioning. The team stay there for approximately 30 minutes before making the short walk to the training pitch. Fitness coach Fausto Rossi is prominent in the warm-up and warm-down part of the day.

11.0:

There's no ball-work in the morning. Instead, it's all about stretching the legs, so the team embark on a series of running drills. A number of those with injury problems sit out the most strenuous part.

Richard Dunne and Robbie Keane leave early to return to the hotel. Keith Andrews stays in the gym to work on a muscle problem.

11.45:

While Trapattoni and Shane Long speak to the media, the rest of the group return to the hotel where, after a break, they sit down for lunch. Again, it's a buffet with a variety of options available, although the team won't be taking anything too substantial with training in the afternoon.

Between training:

The players generally have time to relax for a while in their rooms, but there is also some work to be done ahead of the official departure to Italy. Yesterday, the FAI needed to do a favour for UEFA.

Before each game in Euro 2012, the big screens in the stadium will announce the teams with visuals of the individual players walking up to the camera and adopting a moody pose, a la the introduction to Premier League sides on Sky Sports. So, with a blue screen behind them, the 23 players all had to take their turn.

RTE will also be using the clips. There have been other bits and bobs to sort out this week, including the final suit measurements. Keith Andrews is involved with the company, Chess, who are officially dressing the team, and he was busy with that on Monday.

Meanwhile, Trapattoni likes to have his training sessions recorded, and will often work with technical analyst Brian McCarthy to see if he can find anything specific. DVDs of the opposition will also be prepared; the manager sits the group down on the day before the game and runs through a variety of situations.

3.30:

The second training session of the day. There's no media access to this session, but it's all ball-work which generally finished with a match.

The team have trained twice a day since Sunday, but today will be an exception. Trapattoni is giving his squad the afternoon off, and the option is there for a game of golf if they want it. The Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links is their base during home fixtures.

After training:

Back to the hotel in preparation for an evening meal. The team chef, David Steele from the Clarion Hotel at Dublin Airport, will provide another buffet. He rotates the main dishes, but there will be a choice of chicken, lamb, beef, fish, and a variety of pasta, potatoes and vegetables. Mushrooms are off the agenda.

Evening time:

The players were given the option of a cinema trip last night. On Friday, some of the first batch went to the flicks, while James McClean, David Forde and Keith Fahey travelled to watch the League of Ireland clash of Bohs and Derry.

In the hotel, there is a games room, with snooker, pool, table tennis, a fussball table, and other distractions. There's also the option to play computer games, while most have laptops and a variety of box-sets to work through.

If there are any family members in the vicinity, now is the time for them to drop into the hotel. When the show moves to Sopot in Poland, the nearest and dearest will be staying nearby, and Trapattoni will allow his men some relaxation time in the evening.

But he will set a curfew if they leave the hotel, and the same principle applies while in Ireland.

Tonight, after an afternoon of rest, the team will be allowed to go out for a meal together, a welcome break from the routine before they get back to serious business ahead of the Bosnian friendly.

Irish Independent

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