Ireland may choose the UK for Euro 2016 camp so players can see their families

Martin O’Neill has been speaking about the team’s pre-tournanment plans.

O'Neill with assistant Keane.
O'Neill with assistant Keane.
Image: Gwendoline Le Goff/INPHO

IRELAND MANAGER MARTIN O’Neill will finalise the location of their Euro 2016 pre-tournament training camp in the coming weeks.

With Group E games against Sweden (13 June), Belgium (18 June) and Italy (22 June) taking place in Paris, Bordeaux and Lille, it was confirmed last month that the team will be based in Versailles during the tournament.

The Boys in Green are scheduled to play Switzerland and Slovakia at the end of March before a third friendly at the Aviva Stadium against the Netherlands on 27 May.

The FAI have looked at the possibility of travelling to a number of different countries including Austria after that match, but O’Neill has revealed that the camp could end up being a lot closer to home.

“Nothing has been set in stone yet, but what we’re looking at is actually staying relatively local,” he said while speaking to the media at the SSE Airtricity SWAI awards.

“We’ve had the opportunity to go to a couple of places, Austria and somewhere else, but knowing that the weather is going to be really brilliant here in Dublin we thought that we might stay relatively local, local meaning within the UK.”

The Derryman, who will meet with coaching staff Roy Keane, Steve Guppy and Seamus McDonagh next week before making the final decision, says one of the reasons behind the thinking would be to give the players the opportunity to be close to their families in the run-up to the finals.

“If the players are not a million miles from home, then their families are not far away,” he said. “There will be a day or two that I will allow them to go see their families.

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“For instance, when we come here to the Castleknock Hotel and when we were at Portmarnock, I didn’t mind the players’ wives and families (visiting).

Like Robbie Brady’s family would come in, sit down and have a cup of tea. It was never really a problem.

“And I think if they were seeing their family relatively close to when we’re going away, there would be less pining once we got out into the main business. That’s one of the thoughts.”

When asked whether discussions with the FAI about a new contract have moved on, O’Neill added that there have been no recent developments — although he plans to sit down with chief executive John Delaney soon.

“We just thought we’d get Christmas and New Year out of the way,” he said. “I actually saw John today and I think he wants to get things moving so in the next few weeks I think there’ll probably be some sort of chat about it.”

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Ben Blake

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