Republic report no further coronavirus cases ahead of Bulgaria clash

The Republic of Ireland have reported no further coronavirus cases ahead of their Nations League clash with Bulgaria in Dublin on Wednesday.

Tottenham defender Matt Doherty and Stoke midfielder James McClean were isolated from the rest of the squad after testing positive following Sunday’s defeat to Wales.

However the FAI said in a statement: “[We] can confirm that all players & staff tested negative for COVID-19 ahead of the match against Bulgaria.

“The round of testing took place yesterday on arrival back into Dublin ahead of the fixture on Wednesday, November 18”.

The news will come as a relief to Republic manager Stephen Kenny, whose side need to get a point against the Bulgarians to avoid relegation, and potentially dropping out of the second pot of seeds for the forthcoming 2022 World Cup qualification draw.

Ireland have suffered a spate of positive coronavirus tests in recent months, with Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah both missing last month’s Euro 2020 play-off semi-final defeat in Slovakia for what ultimately turned out to be false-positives.

The following day, John Egan, Callum Robinson, Callum O’Dowda and Alan Browne were withdrawn from the squad to face Wales at the Aviva Stadium after another positive test within the camp, and Kenny has since lost Robinson and Browne to Covid-19 positives this month.