Latest: Second Republic of Ireland player confirmed as Covid-positive after apparent ‘false negative’ test result

The FAI organised a third test in the hope that the player could travel with the squad to Helsinki on Tuesday
Latest: Second Republic of Ireland player confirmed as Covid-positive after apparent ‘false negative’ test result

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny  

Latest: The player at the centre of the latest Covid saga in the Republic of Ireland squad has been confirmed as carrying the virus after a third test.

The unnamed player has now begun self-isolating for 10 days, as mandated by the HSE, and will miss the game against Finland on Wednesday.

The player had first tested positive in a Uefa-administered test after the Wales match on Sunday but returned a negative result after the FAI organised a test on Monday.

Having been stung by a ‘false positive’ case last week, the FAI organised a third test in the hope that the player could travel with the squad to Helsinki on Tuesday, however, it now appears the second test was a ‘false negative’.

No other player has been deemed a close contact and the remainder of Stephen Kenny's squad are free to travel to Helsinki on Tuesday morning. 

A statement, released at midnight, read: "The FAI can confirm that the player who initially tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday night is now out of the Ireland squad for the Uefa Nations League game in Finland, after the second of two tests on Monday produced a positive result. 

"The player – who cannot be named – had received a positive result from a Uefa test on Sunday followed by a negative result from a second test on Monday morning. 

"A third test has now come back positive and the player will now self-isolate for the next 10 days as per HSE guidelines. 

"No members of the Irish squad or the backroom team have been identified as close contacts of the player. 

"Ireland manager Stephen Kenny will not call up any replacements for the Finland fixture in light of this news. 

"The HSE and Uefa will be informed of the latest positive result and the player’s withdrawal from the Irish squad."

Earlier (7.39pm): The FAI has said it is investigating the possibility of a second ‘false positive’ Covid test result, this time among a member of the playing squad.

Earlier on Monday, it was revealed that a second squad member had tested positive for Covid-19 in a Uefa-administered test on Sunday evening.

However, that player has since returned a negative result in a test organised by the FAI's medical team.

Another test is being hastily arranged ahead of the squad's departure for Helsinki on Tuesday for Wednesday's Uefa Nations League game.

“This negative result following a positive has been reported to Uefa and the HSE and we are in communication with both Uefa and the HSE regarding the player’s availability for the Finland game,” said interim FAI CEO Gary Owens.

Last week, a positive test result for an FAI staff member, since confirmed as a false positive, ruled out Ireland strikers Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah for the crucial Euro 2020 playoff against Slovakia. Both have since rejoined the squad.

A statement on Monday evening read: "The Football Association of Ireland can confirm that a member of Stephen Kenny’s Ireland squad has returned a negative result from a second Covid-19 test today after first returning a positive result from a Uefa test undertaken on Sunday evening. 

"The player – who cannot be named at this time – first received a positive result from the Uefa testers on Monday morning in the latest round of Uefa testing for Covid-19 ahead of the Nations League game against Finland in Helsinki on Wednesday. 

"The FAI medical team then organised a second test for the player which returned a negative result this afternoon. 

"The player will now be retested as soon as possible before the team’s flight to Finland on Tuesday morning. The HSE and Uefa have been informed of this result. 

"This latest issue follows confirmation by the HSE on Sunday that an FAI staff employee who was tested positive in a Uefa test in Bratislava last Wednesday - a test later deemed to be a ‘false positive’ result - is now Covid-19 free."

Earlier (4.46pm): The Republic of Ireland squad have been dealt a fresh Covid-19 blow after another player returned a positive result following a round of tests on Sunday night.

However, the Irish Examiner understands that no other player is deemed to be a close contact of their teammate, so Stephen Kenny is not in danger of another slew of withdrawals heading into Wednesday’s Nations League game with Finland.

The FAI delayed their departure from Dublin in order to have all results prior to arrival in Helsinki on Tuesday and whether Kenny decides to call up a replacement for the player remains to be seen.

The squad member in question underwent a re-test following his positive result and the results of this are pending, the hope being it is another false positive like the one returned by an FAI staff member in Slovakia last week.

It is another headache for the Ireland manager and his coaching staff, who were forced to make four changes to the planned starting XI for Sunday’s game with Wales on the morning of kick-off.

John Egan, Callum Robinson, Callum O’Dowda, and Alan Browne were all identified as close contacts of a player who tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday night.

This led to call-ups last night for Dara O’Shea and Jason Knight from the Under-21s, while Ryan Manning and Ronan Curtis were drafted in from Queens Park Rangers and Portsmouth, respectively.

There has been some good news for Kenny, however, with Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah re-joining the squad for Wednesday’s fixture after the HSE formally confirmed that the FAI staff member who returned a false positive does not have Covid-19.

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