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McGinley confident vomiting bug won’t weaken Ireland team

Niall Murphy, Enda Smith and Pearse Hanley have been affected by illness

Enda Smith arriving in Adelaide ahead of Ireland’s first International Rules Test match against Australia on Sunday. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

The GAA are playing down the potential impact of a vomiting bug that has affected a number of the Ireland players, just days before the first Test in this year’s international rules series in Adelaide.

According to association spokesperson Alan Milton: “We are hopeful all three will be okay to play this weekend.”

The players, Niall Murphy (Sligo), Enda Smith (Roscommon) and Pearse Hanley (Mayo and Gold Coast) were suffering from the bug in recent days since arrival in Melbourne on Monday evening and “are being monitored” by Donegal team doctor Kevin Moran, who is the Ireland medical officer.

The news is far from ideal with just two days to the first Test in the Adelaide Oval and the problems of dehydration will be complicated by temperatures expected to be in the 30s.

There is no spare capacity in the panel either with just the bare minimum of 23 travelling to cover starting positions and the interchange bench of eight. Managers have traditionally preferred not to have additional players, who would need to be cut from matchday selections.

So far just the three players plus team physiotherapist Enda McGinley, the former Tyrone All-Ireland winner who first broke the story on BBC Northern Ireland, have been affected.

“Three or four others along with myself have been affected by one of those problems that is associated with long-haul flights,” he said. “Around 48, 72 hours after we arrived some of us starting coming down with a bug.

“All the steps are being taken to limit its spread within the camp, because it’s obviously far from ideal with the Test match coming up this Sunday.

“Players that are affected have been given single rooms and everybody has individual water bottles, so all the steps that can be taken, are being taken.”

He added that he was optimistic that no player would miss Sunday’s match.

“We are fairly confident that nobody will be having to sit out at this stage. Hopefully we will get over it and limit its spread as it’s one of those things that can affect touring parties. This year’s squad is quite limited; we’ve only taken 23 players which isn’t a lot so we can’t afford to be missing anybody, especially given the conditions.”

There had been no previous indications about the matter, which emerged late on Thursday night after players had earlier relaxed on Glenelg beach in Adelaide and attended a reception organised by the local Irish community.