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Kelly has no fears about Given’s fitness

by Sean Goff | June 6, 2012

Ciaran O Raghallaigh at the Euros

Stand down. Panic over. Put the inflatable hammers away.

All is calm in the land of Poland, Saipan II is not around the corner.

Ireland’s players were given the day off on Wednesday, despite it being only their second day in camp here – and with just four days remaining until their Euro 2012 opener against Croatia.

The call was made late yesterday evening, and surprised many, particularly after Giovanni Trapattoni had dismissed Aiden McGeady’s claim that the players were ‘sluggish.

With a spat between a player and coach on the pitch in yesterday’s training session and rumours growing of unhappy players, things were becoming a little tense.

Well earned break

But, something changed after yesterday’s press conference and Trapattoni gave the squad and staff last night and today off.

It seems some of the players enjoyed a few quiet drinks in the main square (Plac Zdrojowy) of Sopot, while others took the time to start a Twitter war – with Sean St Ledger and Simon Cox battling it out for the greatest number of followers.

Goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly spoke to the thronged media corps today on various issues and insisted the spirit was excellent.

Kelly was in fine form, and chuckled his way through a near hour-long session.

If you’ve not got a tight unit, little cracks could show. But this group has such inner belief, you can see it on and off the pitch. When you get a group together and they gel and bond like this, it’s great, it’s been really good.

“If it wasn’t, well you’ve got Twitter and Facebook – so you’d see evidence of it not being the case.”

Kelly was quick to quash another rumour by insisting that Shay Given is fit. He skipped training on Tuesday as part of the ongoing ‘management’ of his knee injury.

“He would play tonight,” Kelly said. “He made four or five saves in Hungary, one a wonderful reaction save and you don’t make those if you are not fully prepared. 

“There is a lot of work behind the scenes  from the pool to backroom staff that do all they can to help the players prepare. 

“They muck in behind the players and Shay is no different, they do exactly the same for him.”

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