Colin Bell wants women’s side to remain in public eye

Ireland manager hoping his side can make a big impact in the World Cup qualifiers

Republic of Ireland manager Colin Bell. “This has all put focus on the women’s team which is a good thing but the girls have to know that it is ultimately about playing football.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Republic of Ireland manager Colin Bell. “This has all put focus on the women’s team which is a good thing but the girls have to know that it is ultimately about playing football.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Republic of Ireland manager Colin Bell says he never had doubt about Monday’s friendly game against Slovakia going ahead because of the dispute between his players and the FAI this week.

The 55-year-old insists he was confident the issues involved would be resolved once the two sides talked.

Bell says that he was in touch with both sides through dispute and is happy that agreement has been achieved but he declined to talk about the issues themselves, insisting that they all related to the period before his own appointment back in February.

“It important that everybody came together,” he said. “New conditions have been offered and those new conditions have been accepted. But all of this happened before I came, I had nothing to do with it.

“Were the players treated okay? I have no idea, it was before my time. All I can say is that since I have arrived here I have been so well treated by the FAI and I have been so well treated by the girls.”

Squad unity

Bell played down the suggestion the entire affair might ultimately have a beneficial effect in the form of greater squad unity but expressed the hope the team will play well enough in the coming months to retain the attention they have generated this week.

“This has all put focus on the women’s team which is a good thing but the girls have to know that it is ultimately about playing football,” he said.

“We have to push that point. The Republic of Ireland have not qualified before for a tournament. When you’re out on the pitch, that’s what you think about; not conditions, not situations off the pitch that might be difficult. You’re thinking about your opponents, you’re thinking about the team,

“So, for me, that’s what it is all about. I don’t like excuses. I don’t like hiding behind things. Now the issues have been sorted . . ..and I’ll be very, very pleased if, after we start the qualification campaign, we’re all here sitting here together again in 12 months because the interest is so great in the national team because we’re playing so well.”

Ireland will discover who their group rivals will be for the next World Cup on the 25th of this month when the draw takes place in Nyon. The tournament itself takes place in the summer of 2019 in France.

In the meantime, after the game in Tallaght on Monday afternoon, the Republic of Ireland have friendlies against Iceland and Scotland lined up for June and July respectively.

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