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Matt Doherty: “We were told to stay in our rooms. Nothing was confirmed until this morning”

Matt Doherty Ireland

There was more disruption for the Ireland team.

Republic of Ireland’s Matt Doherty has explained what the squad were experiencing on the eve of their Uefa Nations League clash with Wales on Sunday.

Matt Doherty Ireland

Stephen Kenny’s Ireland recorded a 0-0 draw with Ryan Giggs’ side at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday afternoon and the new Ireland manager’s wait for a maiden win will go on for another few days at least with Finland up next on Wednesday.

Before Sunday’s match, it was confirmed that five players would be unavailable after an unnamed player tested positive for COVID-19 and four others were considered to be close contacts.

With Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah also ruled out, this represented a major challenge for Kenny and the squad.

Doherty, who played most of the game at centre-back due to Kevin Long’s injury, was speaking to Sky Sports after the match and he explained how the players were told to stay in their rooms rather than attend a scheduled meeting.

Matt Doherty: Ireland players were told to stay in their rooms

“Last evening it was going around (that something was going on),” said Doherty.

“We were meant to have a meeting that didn’t happen. We were told to stay in our rooms. Nothing was really confirmed until this morning. We had enough players to play the game and we played well.

“That’s why you have a big squad. It gives other people opportunities to come on the pitch and prove they could be in the starting team for the next game.

“It was challenging [against Wales] with the playoff defeat which went on what felt like all night. We flew back quite late and then, obviously all the COVID stuff that’s happened to us over the last 12 or so hours.

“I thought we played really well, created some really good chances.”

Doherty could be playing his third game in less than seven days when Ireland take on Finland on Wednesday but the Spurs man is not one to be complaining.

“The body will be fine.

“We’ll never use tiredness as an excuse. I’m quite used to playing a lot of games. Fatigue is not going to be a problem. I can complain about tiredness when I’ve retired.”

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email [email protected] or on Twitter