Saturday 24 March 2018

Video: 'Even Roy is happy with the facilities' - Martin O'Neill close to finalising Euro 2016 base

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Martin O'Neill will meet Roy Keane and his backroom staff on Monday to make decisions about the schedule in the run-up to Euro 2016.

The FAI are close to agreeing a deal to make Versailles their base in France during the competition and both O'Neill and Keane were satisfied by the facilities they inspected over the weekend.

Their next major decision will be the location for a training camp after the friendly with The Netherlands in Dublin on May 27, a fixture that O'Neill is thrilled to have on the calendar. Austria or Spain are top of the list.

"I'm going to meet Roy and the backroom staff on Monday with a bit of luck and just digest everything and try and make a couple of decisions about what happens after our friendly game," said O'Neill, who was speaking at last night's Irish Independent Sportstar of the Year awards.

"I've been happy with the work the (FAI) staff have put in France. They've done great work on our behalf and making some choices at the end was actually quite simple. We're hoping to be able to nail down something in the foreseeable future but I'm more than happy with the work they've done."

Asked if his assistant was satisfied given his Irish tournament history, O'Neill quipped: "Even Roy is happy with the facilities so that's a major plus. But no bibs are allowed. Absolutely no bibs!"


The 63-year-old feels the Dutch encounter will function as an ideal warm-up given the difficulty of Ireland's group at the finals. "I'm pleased with the quality of opposition in all the games," he continued. "Switzerland, Slovakia and now we've the Holland game which is great to look forward to. They're major games and a proper test for us and that's the way I want. I've said before that I'd rather this quality of opposition regardless of the result rather than taking on opposition we think we can beat and it proves absolutely nothing."

O'Neill was happy to chat with stars from other codes at last night's Croke Park event, and admitted to a sense of satisfaction about the year's work; especially given the fears that existed after the two games with Scotland.

"I've just met the great Ronnie Delany," he said. "I haven't seen the race in quite some time, from '56 in Melbourne. Now if you were to ask him where he was positioned with a lap to go, he's probably able to tell you but he won the race.

"There was a lot of doom and gloom when we didn't beat Scotland in June and lost to them last year but it was always doable. We still had a chance and it was a matter of keeping the belief and having to produce and we produced when it mattered most in the last couple of hurdles."

Irish Independent

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