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Friday 30 September 2016

Irish down to business

The Republic of Ireland team bus at their base at Trianon Palace in Versailles ahead of the European Championships which starts tomorrow. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA
The Republic of Ireland team bus at their base at Trianon Palace in Versailles ahead of the European Championships which starts tomorrow. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA

Martin O'Neill didn't waste any time in letting Ireland's squad know that they are now at the sharp end of the Euro 2016 tournament prepartion.

After arriving at the team’s Trianon Palace hotel base yesterday, O’Neill opted for an unscheduled training session, sending a clear message that he means business.

Fresh from signing a new deal, which along with assistant boss Roy Keane will take them up to the World Cup finals in Russia in 2018, O’Neill clearly wanted to start as he means to continue in France.

And the best way to do was to put the players to work straight away and let them know immediately that they are here to play football and not for a holiday, despite their luxurious surrounds.

Across Paris and France, preparations for the tournament have been struggling against a tide of strikes and major flooding incidents but the Irish party avoided almost all of the delays and problems until they returned from their quick hotel breakout.

Intense security around the team hotel created its own difficulties when the squad bus was locked out of their palatial digs for a short spell.

O’Neill and assistant Roy Keane put the players to work again this morning during an open training session intended to welcome them to Versailles and make a connection with the locals.

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