Tuesday 22 October 2019

McCarthy to combat cabin fever as long Denmark build-up begins

Ireland manager Mick McCarthy pictured at Quinta do Lago in Faro, Portugal yesterday. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Ireland manager Mick McCarthy pictured at Quinta do Lago in Faro, Portugal yesterday. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

The sun is shining in Portugal, a contrast from the storm clouds that have hung over the FAI since March.

Mick McCarthy spoke with the "personable" Noel Mooney earlier this week and has been in contact with Rea Walshe and Donal Conway intermittently without involving himself in the ongoing governance crisis.

Managing the squad is his priority and the scenic surrounds of The Campus in Quinta do Lago will be their training base until next Tuesday in the long run-up to the crunch clash with Denmark in Copenhagen on June 7.

The 17-day build-up does present the risk of cabin fever setting in, yet McCarthy has said the right balance between work and play will be struck to ensure there are no such difficulties. There's golf on the agenda this Friday with other social activities and rest days on the cards too.

McCarthy has plenty of experience of training camps, of course, and he will also take on board the advice of Robbie Keane who can inform him of what worked in more recent years.

Giovanni Trapattoni's overly intense preparations for Euro 2012 spring to mind as an example of where getting the balance wrong can have a negative impact.

"I know full well if you have them trapped in the hotel, never going out and never doing anything, that's going to cause a problem because it would have caused me a problem," said McCarthy, who was reluctant to discuss previous regimes.

"I have a really great ally in Robbie who has been involved in all of the camps and experienced. He's quite happy to share that and chirp up and tell me.

"You can't do that all of the time. We'll be training twice on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday off and then back at it on Saturday. It will be mixed up. It will be good fun I think."

Lessons will be learned from the exercise. McCarthy's first camp in March involved immediate preparation for two competitive matches, whereas this environment provides the opportunity to find out more about the character of the players.

There will be some work on shape and tactics too, yet he dropped a strong hint that the template for March's win over Georgia may well be reproduced in Copenhagen.

Richard Keogh, Glenn Whelan and Conor Hourihane started that match but are absent this week due to their involvement in Monday's play-off final.

"You would understand if I said that Conor, Glenn and Richard come in, then they will be playing having played the way they did against Georgia," said McCarthy,

"So I cannot prepare without them in terms of free-kicks, corners, restarts, marking - all of that."

The manager encountered no problems when it came to calling players up after a long season. He did confirm that Harry Arter was cut from his squad due to injury, while promising teenager Luca Connell is due to depart after this training week.


McCarthy was very keen to get back to work himself, and he did take time yesterday to express sympathy for his old team-mate Chris Hughton after his abrupt exit from Brighton.

"He's done a fabulous job getting them promoted and I think he's done a fabulous job keeping them there," he sighed. "I don't know if Chris does all the recruitment there but they seem to think that's not worked for them.

"He's done a great job. To keep them in that league is really tough, especially if you're in that bottom half all of the time. Maybe they just thought it was time for a change, the same as me at Ipswich. They thought it was time for a change, that went well."

The deadpan delivery didn't break the stride of his sentence. "Chris will recover from the tough season and he'll go again if he gets a chance," he continued. "Somebody will be delighted to have him."

Right now, McCarthy is delighted to be here.

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