Football/Soccer

The international show must go on: Ireland boss Stephen Kenny

Stephen Kenny says they made modifications to their travel arrangements to Helsinki yesterday

Nations League B4: Finland v Republic of Ireland (tonight, Helsinki Olympic Stadium, 5pm)

STEPHEN Kenny says international football must continue despite the ravaging impact Covid19 protocols has had on his Republic of Ireland squad ahead of tonight’s Nations League tie with Finland in Helsinki.

The manager also revealed changes were made on the Dublin flight to the Finnish capital yesterday morning to safeguard against more players being ruled out through track and trace.

“There were some differences [on the flight] but again that would be the [FAI] operations director would have planned that. I spoke to him in relation to the flight plans and we did change some things but everyone is learning. There are no experts at the moment because it’s a real learning curve for so many people. So there would be changes going forward.”

The Republic have had to absorb the loss of eight players through Covid issues across their three games against Slovakia, Wales and Finland this evening.

“It’s hard to believe that we lost two players [Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah] for the play-off at such a late stage because of a ‘false’ positive connected to contact tracing,” said Kenny.

“If it was a Dutch player he wouldn’t have had a problem because their rules are 1.5 metres. If it was a player in England, he wouldn’t have had a problem. But the rules are more stringent in Ireland and we have to abide by the law."

The manager added: “Listen, there are people experiencing far worse than what we are. This coronavirus killed thousands of people throughout Europe and bigger numbers throughout the world, so it’s bigger than sport.”

But Kenny was adamant that despite travel problems on the international scene, next month’s next round of international games should proceed.

“In life there are challenges in society that exist and you must try and overcome hurdles in your life or in society. History has taught us that. It has thrown up many challenges throughout the ages and we’ve always had to overcome obstacles.

“Sport is an important part of life. People need something to look forward to and the Irish national team are very important within Irish sporting life. It’s the pinnacle of sporting life in Ireland. It’s a very special place in the hearts of Irish supporters. Obviously we’ve had setbacks and it’ll be good news if it continues.”

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Football/Soccer