Ireland's UEFA Regions Cup campaign kicks-off in Italy

2017 UEFA Regions Cup squad.jpg

Ireland's UEFA Regions Cup campaign kicks-off in Italy

THE Republic of Ireland's UEFA Regions Cup representatives will kick-off their new campaign when they meet mini-tournament hosts Lombardia Regional FA in Gorgonzola tomorrow afternoon (2.30pm Irish).
27th Sep 2016

Ireland's representatives Leinster Munster won the most recent edition of the tournament in Dublin last year but Gerry Davis's side will this year be represented by the Munster Connacht region.

The Irish have settled in well in their base in Lake Garda but Davis is expecting an extremely tough start to Ireland's 'defence' of the UEFA Regions Cup.

Italian sides have lifted the trophy three times in the past so the hosts will be considered one of the main title contenders in this campaign.

"The Italians have won this tournament more times than anybody else in its history. Straight away you know you'll be in for a tough match, we're the holders obviously and there'll be motivation for them to put one over on us," said Davis.

"We had them watched recently so we’ve done as much homework as we could on them. With the new set of players we have and trying to integrate them into the format very quickly, it will be a challenge for us this week. Italy will have technical, strong and aggressive players.

"It's the toughest first game you could get but we've unearthed some gems for this squad. There's a great honesty of effort from the players."

Davis is pleased with how preparations have gone since arriving in Northern Italy on Sunday and the heat has been warmer than Ireland without being oppressive.

" We trained on Sunday to loosen up after the travel then had two sessions on Monday morning and evening and trained again today. Now it's time to wind down and turn our minds to the game," he added.

"So far it's been about players getting to know each other, buy into the system of play and mentality.

"Everything has been really good here. It's warm but not too bad. Game management will be important in terms of getting water to the players, our use of subs, what tempo you play at in and out of possession. That's something new for the lads to adjust to."

FIXTURES

UEFA Regions Cup Intermediary Round Group 7

September 28, 2016

MNZ Maribor v  North-East Macedonia, CS Comunale Ferruccio, Seregno (ITA) (2.30pm)

Lombardia Regional FA v Munster Connacht, Stadio Comunale, Gorgonzola (ITA) (2.30pm)

September 30, 2016

Lombardia Regional FA v MNZ Maribor, Stadio Ernesto Breda, San Giovanni (ITA) (2.30pm)

North-East Macedonia v Munster Connacht, Centro Sportivo Comunale, Inveruno (ITA) (2.30pm)

October 2, 2016

North-East Macedonia v Lombardia Regional FA, Stadio Chinetti, Solbiate Arno (ITA) (2.30pm)

Munster Connacht v MNZ Maribor, Stadio Comunale 1, Carvaggio (ITA) (2.30pm)