Martin O’Neill and staff ‘fine’ after car scare

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill and his coaching staff were back on the training ground yesterday morning just hours after being involved in a motorway shunt.

O'Neill and his coaching staff were travelling together when their car was hit from behind. Picture: PA
O'Neill and his coaching staff were travelling together when their car was hit from behind. Picture: PA

The 63-year-old, assistant Roy Keane and coaches Steve Walford, Steve Guppy and Seamus McDonagh were travelling in the same car on the M50 on Tuesday when they were hit from behind.

However, they suffered only minor injuries, which were treated by team doctor Alan Byrne, and all five were on the training pitch at Gannon Park in Malahide as the Republic stepped up preparations for Saturday’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland.

O’Neill said: “We’re fine, we’re fine, I’ll survive anyway. We just got shunted from the back. I speak for myself, but I’m feeling not too bad.”

Asked if the incident had been scary, O’Neill added after a pause: “Yeah, but listen, we’re fine.”

News of the collision sparked a flurry of activity on social media on Tuesday night, although it did not appear to cause too much of a ripple at the team hotel in Portmarnock. Asked if any of the players had commented on it, O’Neill said with a smile: “They may have slagged some of the other staff, but they certainly didn’t slag me.”

Skipper Robbie Keane, who flew into Dublin after playing for club LA Galaxy on Saturday night, trained with his team-mates, as did defender John O’Shea after complaining of a tight calf muscle in the wake of Sunday’s 0-0 friendly draw with England.

Asked how record scorer Keane looked, O’Neill said: “Not too bad. He had a long flight, got in – and I think he played the full game [at the weekend]. I don’t think he was expecting to play the full game, but he stayed on the field as they were losing.

“But he’s feeling not so bad now. It might take him a day to get sorted out, but not too bad.

“John trained this morning, which is great, and he’s feeling much, much better. He felt a bit uncomfortable on Monday, but he trained and he’s okay.”

However, there was less 
encouraging news of midfielder Harry Arter of whom O’Neill said: “Harry didn’t train today. He has a hip problem and a groin and is away to be assessed.

“It’s a shame because when he came on (against England), I thought he did very well indeed, and he is starting to grow into this, I think.

“Naturally in the course of the next few months, his time with Bournemouth in the Premier League will stand him in good stead.”