The issue was one of those discussed by the manager, squad and FAI during a meeting about the forthcoming tournament, which took place in Dublin before the March friendly against the Czech Republic. But while those so inclined will be allowed to use Twitter, it has been agreed that they will only do so under certain restrictions — including revealing nothing of a tactical or team nature and respecting the privacy of team-mates and staff.
While the squad will train in Gdynia in Poland, they will be based in nearby Sopot, a popular beach resort and spa town. Gdynia and Sopot, along with Gdansk — where Ireland face Spain on June 14 — together form what is called the Tri-City, the main conurbation on Poland’s Baltic coast.
The Irish squad will stay in the five-star Sheraton in Sopot, which is close both to the beach and town centre, though visiting journalists were assured yesterday the players’ bedrooms will be in a part of the building well shielded from the noise of this bustling, all-hours holiday destination. In order to ward off boredom during their three-week stay, a large conference room and adjoining balcony will be converted into a dining area and games room exclusively for the use of management and players. It will also be used for team meetings.
The FAI, in association with an as yet unnamed sponsor, will fit out the games room with a golf simulator, video games and pool and table tennis tables. Quiz and movie nights are also planned. While the food is excellent, the Irish party will be accompanied throughout their stay by their own chef, David Steele.
The Mayor of Sopot told visiting journalists that he was delighted his city would be playing host to the Irish team and supporters.
“Among all the football fans in Europe, there are two groups who like football in the most splendid way — the Dutch and the Irish,” said Bareose Pioprusiewicz. “And we are delighted to have one of them here.”
Perhaps uniquely in all of Europe, Sopot appears not to have an Irish pub in the centre of town but, as the mayor remarked with a smile: “We expect so many Irish fans in June that Sopot will be one big Irish pub.”
However, Pioprusiewicz was also at pains to warn visiting supporters that drinking in public is not allowed and “theoretically” could result in a fine. That said, he went on to point out that beer is plastic glasses can be bought from the many cafes and bars which line Sopot’s long sandy beach in summer.
“I can assure you that no one who comes here will be bored,” he promised.