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Opinion: Turner's Cross Is A Poor Venue For Tonight's Ireland Friendly

Opinion: Turner's Cross Is A Poor Venue For Tonight's Ireland Friendly
By Gavin Cooney Updated

When the history of Euro 2016 is written in five or ten years, tonight's friendly game against Belarus will be a fundamental part. Not that Ireland are likely to blow Belarus away with a swashbuckling display of football that portends a triumphantly beautiful procession through the various rounds of Euro 2016. No, it will be remembered as the squad announcement staged at Turner's Cross, as part of the latest instalment of the slightly endearing, ramshackle history of Irish football.

Martin O'Neill will confirm his final, 23-man squad for Euro 2016 after the Belarus game this evening, despite the fact that the ground is not particularly well-suited to the filing of match reports and subsequent articles about the make-up of the final squad. An FAI Press Release this afternoon offered an advance warning to journalists covering the game. Here is a small excerpt:

As a result, expect folk by stalls outside the ground shouting 'Hats, Scarves, Headbands or Extension Cables'. While journalists should not often be worthy of your pity, when the oral history is being recorded around microphones in a few years' time, expect the scramble around Turner's Cross upon the squad announcement to feature heavily.

This is not to suggest League of Ireland grounds should not be given the opportunity to host major games: the more the Irish team are taken out of Dublin for internationals the better, but the grounds should be given the requisite level of funding to allow it to host a big game. Were this a competitive international, Turner's Cross would not fulfil the basic requirements of a 'Category Four' UEFA stadium, which requires four post-match interview stations and a press box with desks and space for at least 50 people. It seems a bit of a waste to have atmospheric grounds around the country largely ignored at international level, this merely highlights the fact that more has to be done.


=See Also: Predicting What Ireland's Euro 2016 Squad Will Look Like - The Balls Office Debate


See Also: Balls Recalls - The Drama From Previous Irish Squad Announcements



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