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Dublin: 9°C Monday 17 May 2021

Ireland to play summer friendlies against Hungary and Andorra

The games will be part of a nine-day summer training camp in Spain.

The Irish team huddle ahead of last Saturday's game against Luxembourg.
The Irish team huddle ahead of last Saturday's game against Luxembourg.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

STEPHEN KENNY TODAY announced his Irish side will play summer friendlies with Hungary and Andorra as part of a nine-day training camp this summer. The dates and locations of the games have yet to be finalised. 

Ireland have missed out on qualification for the European Championships but are contracted to play two friendly games, so will play Andorra along with Hungary – the latter have qualified for the Euros and are in a daunting group with France, Germany, and Portugal – around a nine-day training camp at which Kenny will get a chance to bed in a few ideas. 

“We wanted to go to Spain for nine days in June, which we are, to work on the whole collective way we want to play and the split and integrate all the new players we have brought in”, said Kenny, when asked to reflect on last Saturday’s defeat.  ”We wanted to ramp that up with friendlies against Andorra and Hungary in June and take us into September but the big letdown has been losing to Luxembourg.

“Luxembourg had drawn with France and France went on to win the World Cup and they have beaten other countries. It’s not the Luxembourg of old and we can’t be disrespectful but our expectation is that we should be beating them at home. We didn’t and you have to expect criticism for that.”

Kenny was speaking at his pre-game press conference ahead of tomorrow’s friendly game with Qatar in Debrecen, Hungary, for which he will be without Enda Stevens and Matt Doherty through injury. This doesn’t necessarily mean he will change from the three-at-the-back system deployed in the qualifiers against Serbia and Luxembourg, however. 

“It’s certainly a possibility. We have other options in that regard. Cyrus Christie, Ryan Manning of course, and James McClean who is just back from injury and came on in the last two games.” 


stephen-kenny Stephen Kenny. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Regardless of whether the system changes, some of the personnel within it will. 

“There will be changes in the team, of course. One of the problems that we’ve had when we’ve analysed everything is the players who weren’t playing in teams, when they have to go to a second game in three days having not played in a month or six weeks, they’ve found they couldn’t get to the levels they were at in the opening game with speed and sharpness, and that was an issue.

“It’s not an excuse, I’m not trying to make excuses, I’m just trying to give you some feedback and that’s it.” 

Kenny says, on review, Ireland did not deserve to lose the game against Luxembourg, though did stress his side should have created more chances. He also accentuated his faith in the talent of the young players at his disposal. 

“I’m very determined that we will improve and get it right. We’ve just had a real kick in the teeth losing to Luxembourg and I understand, because World Cup points are so sought-after and hard-earned, that is it.

“It would be too easy for me to say that we’ll have long-term success with this, but what I will say is that all of those players coming through, a lot of them are very talented 

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“There are some suggestions that they’ll all end back playing in Ireland and that they’re not that talented. All those players that have come in – Dara O’Shea, Jason Knight, Jayson Molumby, Aaron Connolly, Caoimhin Kelleher, Gavin Bazunu and all of those players, they will all have good careers a the top level.

“They are going to be good players for Ireland in the future an they are talented players, and you will see them blossom – and other players like Troy Parrott as well and players, I haven’t even mentioned, Adam Idah, young Nathan Collins.

“We’ve got a whole lot of players coming through and that’s a real positive in relation to it. But I do think it’s not just long-term, I think we can be good in this campaign. 

“We were very good against Serbia, we just let ourselves down by not capitalising on the situations we had the other night against Luxembourg and not being creative in the areas we could have been, and that’s really hurt us.” 


About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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