Euro 2020: Idah and Connolly missed play-off due to ‘stringent’ Covid-19 restrictions

Euro 2020: Idah and Connolly missed play-off due to ‘stringent’ Covid-19 restrictions

Adam Idah and Aaron Connolly were both tipped to feature under Stephen Kenny in Bratislava

Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny says he contested the omissions of forwards Adam Idah and Aaron Connolly after the pair missed Thursday’s Euro 2020 play-off defeat by Slovakia.

A member of the Republic’s backroom staff tested positive for Covid-19 after the team arrived in Bratislava.

Both players were deemed to have been close contacts of the member of staff and had to sit out the shootout loss.

“That’s the way it goes and you can’t do anything about that,” said Kenny.

Before the match, the FAI said a member of the Republic’s backroom team tested positive for Covid-19.

The FAI employee tested negative on Tuesday morning in Dublin but a positive result came from a test in Bratislava on Wednesday.

The association’s statement made no reference to either Idah or Connolly, who were expected to feature in the game. However, the duo were missing from the team-sheets.

Kenny clarified after the game that the Republic had unsuccessfully tried to appeal against the decision, which he described as “harsh”.

“They were deemed close contacts to one of our non-footballing staff,” said Kenny.

“We appealed [against] it on the basis of 1.7 metres as opposed to 1.9 metres – that’s how far they were away, as opposed to two metres which would have made them OK.

“That wasn’t deemed sufficient.”

‘We had to abide by medical advice’

Kenny added both Brighton player Connolly and Norwich striker Idah “are perfectly fine and there is nothing wrong with them”.

“The two-metre rule in Ireland, it’s not in the UK I don’t believe, so if they were in the UK they would have been perfectly entitled to play,” said the former Dundalk boss.

“Ireland has much more stringent rules and we had to abide by the medical advice.

“We don’t have issues at all within the camp, it’s just an issue with non-football member of staff. It was one of the rules that we had to adhere to and that was it.”

Matt Doherty missed the decisive penalty in Bratislava

Another member of staff tested positive on Tuesday before the squad left Dublin and two staff members, who tested negative, were “restricting their movements”.

Slovakia were also hit by Covid-19 issues when Napoli midfielder Stanislav Lobotka was ruled out on Wednesday afternoon because of an outbreak at his club.

Shortly before Thursday’s kick-off, the Slovak FA confirmed that Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar had tested positive for Covid-19 and would miss the game.

The hosts triumphed 4-2 in a shootout after Alan Browne and Tottenham defender Matt Doherty missed their penalty kicks.

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