Sunday 18 August 2019

Video: 'We're hoping the Aviva Stadium is policed well' - Martin O'Neill

Cormac Byrne

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has admitted that he doesn't have any security concerns ahead of the Euro 2016 return leg against Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow night.

There were increased security precautions at a UNICEF charity game organised by David Beckham at Old Trafford yesterday after it emerged that a suicide bomber tried to gain entry to the Stade de France on Friday night during an international friendly between France and Germany.

The attacker was frisked by security and stopped when they noticed he was wearing a suicide vest, preventing an even greater catastrophe.

The national teams of France and Germany both spent Friday night inside the Stade de France following the attacks on the French capital.

Germany were taken to the airport on Saturday morning to return home rather than returning to their hotel, which had been subject to a bomb threat earlier on Friday.

France's players refused to return to their homes as a show of solidarity with their opponents.

O'Neill was asked if he felt uneasy about the game at the Aviva tomorrow in light of the events in St Denis, he said: "I don't feel uneasy about the game. I think it was horrendous.... the events in Paris.

"It puts a lot of things in perspective including football matches.

"We're hoping that the stadium is well policed and I'm hoping we'll be okay but I haven't thought about that, it was more of a thought about the events in Paris itself."

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan stated yesterday that the threat level to Ireland was 'low'

Meanwhile, John O'Shea and Shane Long handed O'Neill a major boost when they returned to training ahead of Monday'a game.

The pair, who missed the first leg in Zenica on Friday through a combination of injury and suspension, were involved in the warm-up on Sunday morning in Abbotstown before the closed section of the session got under way.

They were joined by striker Jonathan Walters, who like O'Shea, was suspended for the 1-1 draw at the Bilino Polje Stadium.

Daryl Murphy, who led the line in Long's absence in the first leg, was the only man to sit out the warm-up.

O'Neill will hope Sunderland defender O'Shea, who has not played since damaging a hamstring in the Wear-Tyne derby on October 25, and Southampton striker Long, who limped out of the 2-1 defeat in Poland on October 11 with a foot problem, are both available as the campaign draws to a close at the Aviva Stadium.

Robbie Brady's strike in Bosnia handed the Republic a precious away goal, meaning a 0-0 draw or any victory will be enough to book a trip to France next summer.

The game could be the last international for some of the players but that won't affect O'Neill's selections.

"It's called tough luck, I'm not going to put players in because it might be their last international game," he added

"I will put them in hopefully on merit in the side, and hopefully that the experience they have garnered over the last 10, 12-15 years could stand us in decent stead."

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