Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Euro 2016: Board games relax us and that's not Balderdash, says Steven Davis

By Paul Ferguson

Published 04/06/2016

Northern Ireland's Roy Carroll during Friday night's training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Northern Ireland's Roy Carroll during Friday night's training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty gets a kiss from Josh Magennis during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Will Grigg during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland players during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland players during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland players during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Slovakia's Martin Skrtel (centre) takes part in a training session at the Antona Malatinskeho Stadium, Trnava. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 3, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Slovakia. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Slovakia's Juraj Kucka (second left) speaks to Vladimir Weiss (left) as they take part in a training session at the Antona Malatinskeho Stadium, Trnava. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 3, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Slovakia. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Slovakia's Juraj Kucka takes part in a training session at the Antona Malatinskeho Stadium, Trnava. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 3, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Slovakia. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Slovakia's Martin Skrtel (centre) takes part in a training session at the Antona Malatinskeho Stadium, Trnava. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 3, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Slovakia. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Slovakia's Martin Skrtel (right) takes part in a training session at the Antona Malatinskeho Stadium, Trnava. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 3, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Slovakia. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Slovakia team take part in a training session at the Antona Malatinskeho Stadium, Trnava. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 3, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Slovakia. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's captain Steven Davis during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's captain Steven Davis during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Michael McGovern during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Michael McGovern during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Alan Mannus during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Michael McGovern during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Conor Washington during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Aaron Hughes during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Conor Washington during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Oliver Norwood during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Aaron Hughes during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Will Grigg during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Will Grigg during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 03rd June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Oliver Norwood during Friday nights training session at the City Arena stadium ahead of Saturdays final Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Slovakia in Trnava.
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis during a press conference and training session at the Antona Malatinskeho Stadium, Trnava. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 3, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during a press conference and training session at the Antona Malatinskeho Stadium, Trnava. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 3, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis during a press conference and training session at the Antona Malatinskeho Stadium, Trnava. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 3, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during a press conference and training session at the Antona Malatinskeho Stadium, Trnava. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 3, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.

Northern Ireland's star names are keeping their minds focused and have nullified the onset of boredom during Euro 2016 training camps by playing Balderdash.

The Northern Ireland squad, apart from the Premier League players who joined up a week late, have been in camp for three weeks now starting with high-tempo training sessions in Manchester, followed by a four- day stay in Carton House and this week at a retreat in Austria.

Outside the scheduled training sessions it can be a monotonous experience for the players.

However, manager Michael O'Neill is keen to make sure the players remain in a positive mood ahead of the vitally important Euro 2016 games against Poland, Ukraine and Germany and that's why he invited the likes of four time Major golf champion Rory McIlroy to join up with his squad in Kildare for words of inspiration and to put on a golfing master class.

The players were also afforded the best possible facilities out in Austria.

Team spirit and the willing to go into battle for each other is one of the main reasons why Northern Ireland have now gone a record 11 games unbeaten.

Skipper Steven Davis, ahead of tonight's match with Slovakia in Trnava, has conceded that the time has simply flown in during these last few weeks, the players are enjoying everyone's company and they are bonding over board game sessions.

Currently the game of choice within the squad is Balderdash, and as manager Michael O'Neill pointed out when quizzed on it yesterday, it is similar to Give Us a Clue.

The 31-year-old Southampton midfielder says: "We've been playing Balderdash.

"I played it for the first time last night with a few of the lads so I'm still getting used to the rules myself.

"It's been good just to get the boys together.

"You have to try and find ways to relax that work in with the training schedule.

"Basically it's a game and there are different events. Such and such happened in America in the state of what?

"Everybody gets an answer and you have to pick which one you think is correct.

"If somebody picks your answer you get points. There are some really crazy answers."

While many Northern Ireland fans would like to see their star performer and captain Davis wrapped up in cotton wool to prevent him for injury ahead of next week's Euro 2016 opener against the Poles, the Cullybackey lad is likely to play at least 45 minutes against the Slovaks and earn his 83rd cap.

He certainly wants to play and is looking forward to the serious challenge that Slovakia possess, especially considering they have only lost twice in 19 games and came second to Spain in qualifying and one place ahead of Northern Ireland Group C opponents Ukraine.

Davis says: "Considering their results of late, we are expecting a much tougher and more competitive game that last week's match with Belarus.

"We have looked at Slovakia and know they are dangerous from set pieces which we'll need to be careful of.

"Hopefully we'll get a good deal out of it and come way with a positive result heading into the Poland game.

"It's going to be a real step up in for everyone once we get to France. The double sessions we did in Austria will no doubt help us."

Belfast Telegraph

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More