Ireland v Poland Diary: Day off means family time for Country set
Martin O'Neill has tried to structure this week in a similar manner to how players would be used to with their clubs, which means they have a day off in the middle of it, and that's today.
Of course, this is slightly different to the norm given that the entire squad live a plane ride away and, while they were free to leave yesterday afternoon, there would be questionable logic in jetting home for the night and then getting up to catch another flight to report back to the team hotel this evening.
In this situation, it's far easier for the Irish-born players, who can spend a night at home around friends and family, and the rural members of the squad were planning to hit the road.
John O'Shea indicated on Sunday that he wanted to bring his Senior International Player of the Year trophy to his native Waterford.
For those English-born squad members who don't have relatives on Irish soil, it's a slightly less convenient window. So they had to find a way to amuse themselves while staying in the Portmarnock base. There was a time when this window was a prime opportunity for serious mischief but today's crop are a calmer bunch.
Sad side of recent Polish success
Four years ago, an Irish group registered a victory over Poland in a competitive game that mattered. En route to qualifying for the U-19 European Championships in 2011, Paul Doolin's charges registered a single-goal success over the Poles.
Jeff Hendrick, the goalscorer that day, is the only member of that Ireland squad to have won a senior cap, even though that group are now in their early 20s.
A few others still have a chance, such as Watford's Sean Murray and Wolves right-full Matt Doherty, but it's unfortunate that group has failed to collectively progress.
Quote of the day
"It's not chess we're playing" - Roy Keane drew a chuckle or two when he shrugged off the fact that a few players have picked up knocks in training this week. He is right, of course, although one imagines that a game of chess with the Irish assistant could still turn out to be a pretty intense affair