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We may be hurting but we will be ready for Ukraine: Stuart Dallas

By Paul Ferguson in Lyon

Published 14/06/2016

Northern Ireland players pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland players pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans and Corry Evans pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Niall McGinn pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Roy Carroll pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Michael McGovern pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Chris Baird pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis and Gareth McAuley pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis, Conor Washington and Kyle Lafferty pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas, Will Grigg, Aaron Hughes and Chris Baird pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Michael McGovern pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis and Oliver Norwood pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Shane Ferguson, Jonny Evans, Corry Evans and Stuart Dallas pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Aaron Hughes and Chris Baird pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Conor McLaughlin pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans pictured during Tuesdays training session at the Parc de Montchervet in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their second Euro 2016 game against Ukraine on in Lyon on Thursday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry

Frustration was etched all over the face of Leeds United winger Stuart Dallas following Sunday night's opening Euro 2016 defeat to Poland in Nice.

Having been overlooked for Northern Ireland's starting line-up, with the more defensive Shane Ferguson given the nod to play left wing back by manager Michael O'Neill, Dallas was forced to watch from the bench in the first half as Poland completely dominated Northern Ireland and only for some fantastic tackles from Gareth McAuley and Jonny Evans, along with a brilliant save from Michael McGovern, they would never have reached the interval on level terms.

The 25-year-old from Cookstown was introduced at half-time, with Paddy McNair withdrawn having struggled to make an impression in a variety of positions.

Dallas though, while naturally disappointed he didn't start the biggest game of his life, especially considering the major part he's played in every competitive game since coming on as a substitute against Finland last March, admits individual aspirations can never eclipse what the manager believes is good for the team.

The former Crusaders starlet concedes: "It was disappointing not to start but it's not about me - we are a team first and foremost and it's the manager's decision. Any player who says they are not disappointed to start is telling lies. I respect the manager's decision. He set out the team the way he wanted us to play, we know we are a good team and good enough to get a result against the likes of Poland. Unfortunately we just couldn't do that."

Poland scored in the 51st minutes through Arkadiusz Milik, but it was really only in the last 20 minutes when O'Neill changed to an attacking 4-3-3 formation, and with substitutes Conor Washington and Jamie Ward on the pitch, that Northern Ireland looked like threatening the Polish goal.

Dallas entered this tournament in great form having been voted the players' player of the year at Elland Road, but he could do little to change the outcome of the game.

Dallas admits: "I am my own biggest critic - I thought I did okay. I didn't get a lot of the ball.

"Unfortunately even when I came on we didn't really create anything but I gave 100% and tried my absolute best. I'm not going to criticise those players in the first half - we may have had a lot more ball than in the first half but we just weren't brave enough and at times and didn't show what we can do.

"But it's not over yet. We are still very much in this tournament."

Belfast Telegraph Sports Editor Steven Beacom's Euro 2016 diary: Friday, June 24. McGovern is the number one as he mixes it with Europe's best. Fair play to Germany's Toni Kroos, Spain's Andres Iniesta, Welshman Gareth Bale and France's Dimitri Payet...you've finally made it! They are in the Euro 2016 best XI relating to Opta Stats from the group stages along with Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern who is having a fantastic tournament.
Hey Toni and the others, that's what you call keeping good company.
Belfast Telegraph Sports Editor Steven Beacom's Euro 2016 diary: Friday, June 24. McGovern is the number one as he mixes it with Europe's best. Fair play to Germany's Toni Kroos, Spain's Andres Iniesta, Welshman Gareth Bale and France's Dimitri Payet...you've finally made it! They are in the Euro 2016 best XI relating to Opta Stats from the group stages along with Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern who is having a fantastic tournament. Hey Toni and the others, that's what you call keeping good company.
Legend Jennings gives a big hand to NI's newest goalkeeping hero. The accolades are rolling in for Michael McGovern. And yesterday came congratulations from Northern Ireland goalkeeping great Pat Jennings (left). In an interview ahead of Saturday's game with Wales, BBC presenter Joel Taggart phoned big Pat to speak to Michael. Jennings was full of praise for the Enniskillen man who was genuinely touched by his comments.
Irish FA chief Patrick also living the dream and thirsty for more. Irish Football Association Chief Executive Patrick Nelson tells me he has been working 38 years in different industries, but says nothing quite compares to his Euro 2016 experiences. Just like the players, Nelson (right) is loving being part of the tournament in France. "It is fantastic. Our team are doing us proud and so are the Northern Ireland fans. I would rate my experience as 10 and a half out of 10 so far," said a beaming Nelson.
Belfast Telegraph Sports Editor Steven Beacom's Euro 2016 diary: Thursday, June 23. The German players showed real class after their 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland. Bastian Schweinsteiger hailed the atmosphere created by the Green and White Army and had his picture taken with striker Will Grigg, who swapped shirts with Mats Hummels after the big defender sought him out. It would be great to meet the world champions again - in the final.
Assistant boss Stephen chills out with a little Country and Western. Away from the pressure of the matches at the Euro 2016 tournament, the Northern Ireland squad have different ways of relaxing. The players indulge in games of pool, darts and table tennis and then there's assistant manager Stephen Robinson, who apparently loves nothing better than watching American TV drama Nashville, which is all about the country 'n' western music industry.
Medium predicts a NI v Belgium final in Paris. Former Killyleagh manager Dee Heron is feeling lucky in France. He went to see a medium who told him the Euro 2016 final next month would be between Northern Ireland and Belgium, adding that fortune would shine on him. A few minutes later he found €10 lying in the street. Word has it that Dee wagered his new found wealth on the medium's bold prediction.
Belfast Telegraph Sports Editor Steven Beacom's Euro 2016 diary: Wednesday, June 22: Jubilant fans a Tower of strength as Parisians look on in admiration. Paris had never seen anything like it. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters (right) congregated around the Eiffel Tower yesterday and then walked to the Parc des Princes stadium singing every step of the way. It was a Sea of Green to behold with the locals looking on in awe and admiration. Northern Ireland fans have certainly left a good impression on the Parisians.
Former stars enjoy a laugh and a joke at media centre rendezvous. With Northern Ireland in France, there have been many more of our ex-internationals here than in previous tournaments, doing television and radio work. In the Parc des Princes media centre yesterday before the game with Germany there was a cool moment when pundits Norman Whiteside, Iain Dowie and Keith Gillespie all met up and enjoyed a long chat and a few laughs.
Eamonn's lovely touch to let UTV's Ruth know she's doing a great job. UTV presenter Ruth Gorman is doubling up and working for ITN in France at the Euro 2016 finals and doing an excellent job. So much so that Sky News and This Morning host Eamonn Holmes sent a lovely message to Ruth (right) to tell her how well she was performing. Nice touch. Ironically Eamonn cut his teeth for ITN during the 1982 World Cup finals when Northern Ireland were producing heroics in Spain.
Proud Ulsterman has prepared the pitch for tonight's big game. Jonathan Calderwood will be one proud Northern Ireland man tonight. The Clough native is the head groundsman of the Parc des Princes stadium and can't wait to see his national side take on world champions Germany on his pitch. Jonathan started out at Glentoran and has worked at Wembley, Wolves and Aston Villa making a big name for himself before moving to Paris St Germain.
Kyle makes Zak's day after getting ticket for game against Ukraine. What a lovely gesture from Kyle Lafferty who got in touch with 10-year-old Northern Ireland fan Zak McGall (right) after seeing his joyous reaction online to being given tickets by his dad Richard for the Euro 2016 win over Ukraine. Lafferty arranged a Facetime call to Zak and, along with captain Steven Davis, Aaron Hughes and Josh Magennis, wished the Ballymena boy a happy birthday.
McIlroy and Ulster Rugby heroes flying in to cheer on O'Neill's men. Rory McIlroy will be attending tonight's match between Northern Ireland and Germany in Paris...and he won't be the only famous sportsman from back home cheering on Michael O'Neill's men in the French capital. Current Ulster Rugby star Darren Cave, a big Blackburn Rovers fan, will be in attendance as will ex-Ulster aces Paddy Wallace and David Humphreys, who is bringing his son James along too. It's a match everyone wants to see.
Belfast Telegraph Sports Editor Steven Beacom's Euro 2016 diary, Monday, June 20: Coagh old boy Dallas insists he's a man for all seasons in France. Stuart Dallas will happily play in rain, hail or shine. That's why he was so surprised when the players were taken off in Northern Ireland's game with Poland in Lyon due to hailstones. "They wouldn't have brought us off for that when I was playing for Coagh," said Dallas, not forgetting his roots. He hopes to play 90 minutes straight against Germany tomorrow whatever the weather!
Josh hits a high note as he tunes up for clash with world champs. The Northern Ireland players are doing numerous interviews out here in France. The Cool FM team of Pete Snodden, Paolo Ross and Rebecca McKinney (left) like to take things away from the norm when talking to the boys. Josh Magennis certainly enjoyed doing a duet of Sweet Caroline with Rebecca. Whether it moves above 'Will Grigg's on fire' in the charts remains to be seen.
It all comes out in the wash for Jim and his team of scouts. Following the further adventures of Jim Magilton (right), who has been travelling around France on scouting missions for Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill. At the weekend his clothes and those of fellow IFA Euro 2016 scouts Stephen Craigan and Andy Cousins were locked overnight in a local laundry after they didn't realise the closing time. After much laughter and then concern, the trio got their clean clothes back the next day.
Friday, June 17: It was a joyous sight watching all the Northern Ireland players walking through the interview area after their marvellous 2-0 victory over Ukraine. All of them wore the biggest smiles. Not least Oliver Norwood  whose brilliant free-kick set up Gareth McAuley's opener. "What an emotional night that was," said Norwood, capturing the mood perfectly.
No cold feet from Jimmy as he joins the fans and loves a selfie. Jimmy Nesbitt is fast becoming the most photographed man from Northern Ireland. And the great thing about Jimmy is he never gets cold feet about been asked to pose for a picture. The actor was in Nice for the Poland game and  yesterday turned up in Lyon for the Ukraine match. Everywhere the Coleraine supporter went he was stopped by fans for a selfie ... with a smile.
It’s brothers in arms with Jonny and Corry united on the big stage. History was made in Stade de Lyon last night when Jonny and Corry Evans became the first Northern Ireland brothers to play together in the finals of a major tournament. What a moment for the Evans boys when they walked out to face Ukraine at the Euro 2016 finals and what an emotional experience for parents Jackie and Dawn. They were, as you would expect, as proud as punch of their sons.
Thursday, June 16: German media already fired up by Grigg before Paris showdown. So, which Northern Ireland footballer is getting lots of coverage in the German media? Could it be captain Steven Davis, striker Kyle Lafferty or defender Jonny Evans? No the answer is Will Grigg (left), who is yet to play in the Euro 2016 tournament. It's all down to the by now famous song 'Will Grigg's on fire' which apparently the Germans have taken to their hearts.
Manager makes light of captain's moment of history against Poles. Amid the seriousness of preparation for tonight's match with Ukraine there was a funny moment at yesterday's press conference involving Michael O'Neill (right) and Steven Davis. After Davis was asked about making history against Poland in Nice by taking a one man kick-off, courtesy of new rules, manager O'Neill chipped in: "We hope it's not the highlight of our tournament!"
Arnason makes a big point and leaves Ronaldo the sore loser. Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo did himself no favours by saying Iceland showed no ambition and had a 'small mentality' after Tuesday's 1-1 draw in Group F. Iceland's Kari Arnason spoke for just about everyone here when he labelled the Real Madrid striker 'a sore loser'. Ronaldo didn't actually finish a loser but we all got Kari's point. Arnason added: "It's petty. He didn't fancy it on the day."
Wednesday, June 15 Magilton's on a tour de France, but it's definitely not a holiday. If you want to know about France, the man to ask is Jim Magilton. The former Northern Ireland midfielder and current Irish FA Elite Performance director is touring all around the country during Euro 2016. He's not on holiday you understand, but scouting the teams at the tournament for manager Michael O'Neill. Word has it Jim is loving the gig.
Support from Stormont is now a Givan. For Northern Ireland’s opening Euro 2016 game against Poland, First Minister Arlene Foster was cheering on Michael O’Neill’s men. And for the final group match in Paris, when world champions Germany are the opposition, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness will be in attendance. Stormont will also  be represented tomorrow with Sports Minister Paul Givan in Lyon  for the Ukraine match.
IFA try to work out if we could benefit from Russian roulette. When Uefa announced that Russia would be thrown out of Euro 2016 if their fans caused further trouble there was much discussion amongst IFA officials. President Jim Shaw (centre) and Chief Executive Patrick Nelson debated with me how any expulsion would impact on other teams/groups in the tournament. And looking ahead what it would mean for Russia hosting the 2018 World Cup finals
Tuesday, June 14. World champion boxer Carl Frampton and renowned actor Jimmy Nesbitt were in good company at Northern Ireland's first ever European Championship match on Sunday. The two Ulstermen may have been disappointed with their country losing 1-0 to Poland, but at least had the consolation of having a chat with former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson at Stade de Nice.
Tuesday, June 14. Ginola back on the box and fighting fit after heart operation. It was just last month that David Ginola had a quadruple heart bypass operation. The good news is the former Newcastle and Spurs winger has recovered quickly. The 49-year-old is one of the star presenters on French television for Euro 2016. Ratings are high whenever Ginola is on the box and in case you are wondering he is looking as slick as ever.
International legends can talk as well as they played the game Gerry Armstrong is well known for his work on Sky Sports. He is here at the Euro 2016 finals as the BBC television's expert summariser with Neil Lennon in the studio alongside host Gary Lineker. Belfast Telegraph columnist Norman Whiteside will fill that role for ITV with Iain Dowie acting as co-commentator. All can talk for Northern Ireland as well as they played.
Monday, June 13. King Kenny's special message is well received from biggest fan. Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill received many good luck messages from all around the sporting world ahead of the match against Poland. He appreciated them all, though one in particular struck a special chord as it came from his childhood hero Kenny Dalglish. O'Neill was a massive Liverpool fan as a kid and idolised the man he calls 'King Kenny'.
Monday, June 13. Boys in blue are members of the Green and White Army in France. A host of Irish League players past and present were in Nice yesterday to cheer on Northern Ireland against Poland. Former Linfield stars William Murphy (left), Stuart King, Stephen Douglas and current Windsor Park hero Jamie Mulgrew were among those who made the trip. They will be at all of Northern Ireland's group games, so it is next stop Lyon for Thursday's match with Ukraine.
Monday, June 13. Glentoran legend Cleary back on big stage as supporter in Nice. No Irish League players made Michael O'Neill's 23-man panel for the Euro 2016 finals. Linfield's Paul Smyth and Glenavon's Joel Cooper, however, are training with the squad. For the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain Billy Bingham took four Irish League aces, one of which was Glentoran great Jim Cleary. He was in Nice last night for the game, looking as if he could still play for his country if called upon!
Saturday, June 11. Michael keeps bodyguard on his toes with energetic workouts Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill  likes to keep himself fit and healthy and enjoys getting out for a run while on international duty. He's a busy man preparing tactics for the upcoming Euro 2016 clash with Poland but wisely still makes time for a jog to clear his head. Security is so tight here in France though that when he has an energetic workout on the roads near the team base he is joined by a bodyguard.
Saturday, June 11. Hard to keep track of the trains but always a Nice alternative The train strikes here are playing havoc with Euro 2016 travel plans, both for fans and media. Many of us based in Lyon were due on the 7am train to Nice today, but when that was cancelled alternative arrangements had to be made. Kyle Lafferty's new wife Vanessa and her parents travelled yesterday to Nice with the BBC and your correspondent got a lift with UTV'S Ruth Gorman this morning.
Saturday, June 11. All eyes were on Kyle Lafferty at training yesterday to see if he really was fit enough to play against Poland tomorrow. No problem there. After injury worries earlier in the week all was fine. He even pretended he was a horse at one stage. "That's Kyle. He keeps us entertained," said team-mate Gareth McAuley. Here's to a thoroughbred display against the Poles.
Friday, June 10 Le Journal informed you yesterday that Rory McIlroy is hoping to make it to Northern Ireland's game with Germany. Another big fan, Carl Frampton (left) is planning to take a short break from preparations for his world title fight against Leo Santa Cruz in July in New York to cheer on Michael O'Neill's men at the Poland game on Sunday.
The Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters Clubs want the fans to create a 'Sea of Green' in Nice for Sunday's opening Euro match with Poland. They will distribute 8,000 flags and will organise face painting at the Northern Ireland fans' Embassy at Brasserie des Ponchettes 3, Place Charles Felix in the Cours Saleya area. Get along, go green and enjoy the fun.
Friday, June 10 Radio 5 Live and Radio Ulster are joining forces for Northern Ireland's opening Group C clash against Poland in Nice. Joel Taggart will provide commentary for both stations from the stadium with Gerry Taggart acting as summariser. Radio Ulster will then have a post-match fans phone in, hosted by Michael McNamee with special guest John O'Neill, who played in the 1982 and 1986 World Cups.
Thursday, June 9 Rory McIlroy is hoping to be in Paris to cheer on Northern Ireland against Germany on June 21. The four-time Major champion was at Windsor Park last October when Michael O'Neill's men qualified and he would love to join the party in France. McIlroy met all the players in Dublin at a training camp the day after he won the Irish Open, a gesture much appreciated by O'Neill.
It's taken a few days, but finally the security question popped up at a Northern Ireland press conference yesterday. On hand to answer it was Craig Cathcart, who likes to keep a tight defence himself. "The security we've had has been fantastic, we haven't had to wait around anywhere, we get to where we need to be. As long as we're all safe, that's all we want. They've done a great job so far," he said.
Some Northern Ireland supporters received surprise calls yesterday from the team hotel. Captain Steven Davis, Aaron Hughes, Josh Magennis and assistant manager Jimmy Nicholl all phoned up fans to thank them for their support and wish them well on their journey to France. Not a bad conversation starter. “Here, you’ll never guess who rang me  last night?
Wednesday, June 8 The Northern Ireland team were in grand surroundings last night, eating dinner in the Michelin Star Castle at Chateau de Bagnols in the heart of the vineyards of Beaujolais near Lyon. Apparently the Castle is a favourite spot of Hollywood movie star Tom Cruise, who has also stayed in the team’s hotel. Wonder if he thinks it is mission impossible for our boys to get out of their group?
Wednesday, June 8 Sylvie Epinat made speeches at Chateau de Bagnols last night. Mayor Epinat told Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill and his players that she hoped they would go all the way to the Euro 2016 final and meet hosts France in the decider. On the menu for dinner was Amuse-bouche, salmon and veal.
Wednesday, June 8 At the Euro 2016 finals, Uefa have designated a television reporter to follow each team. For Northern Ireland it is former Sky Sports and UTV presenter Graham Little, who once took Kyle Lafferty for a training session back in their native Fermanagh. Northern Ireland based journalist Laure James is Uefa’s England reporter and has already enjoyed interviewing captain Wayne Rooney.
Tuesday, June 7 The Northern Ireland players had their first training session in France yesterday at the picturesque Saint-Georges-de-Reneins. It’s a cracking spot, 40 minutes from Lyon, with a carpet of a pitch and high class facilities. Manager Michael O’Neill (right) joked: “It’s a bit different from Chimney Corner!” which was one of his first training bases as a Northern Ireland player.
Tuesday, June 7 It’s all in the name as French journalists are already baffled At the Northern Ireland media centre, beside the team’s training pitch, a set of images show how all six counties are represented in the squad. In the frame are Steven Davis (Antrim), Luke McCullough (Armagh), Josh Magennis (Down), Stuart Dallas (Tyrone), Michael McGovern (Fermanagh) and Shane Ferguson (Derry/Londonderry). A French journalist asked me why Shane (left) had two counties!
Northern Ireland's captain Steven Davis (L) and coach Michael O'Neill (L) attend a training session while water spray at their training ground in Saint George de Reneins on June 6, 2016 during the Euro 2016 football tournament. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZESPHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images
Tuesday, June 7 Tourist Board making sure the media centre is picture perfect The press conference room in the media centre has been paid for by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. An IFA source said the Association is receiving an estimated £25,000. In and just outside the room are pictures of notable landmarks including the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge (right). Let’s hope Northern Ireland’s defence isn’t as shaky as that!
Monday, June 6 Home from home for O’Neill and his team... flags are out already The Northern Ireland players spotted a familiar sight last night on their way to their base for the next few weeks. Entering the small village of Pizay outside Lyon, where Michael O’Neill (right) and his team are staying, was a Northern Ireland flag fluttering in the breeze. Pizay is renowned for its vineyards but wine is off the menu for the players until they reach the knockout stages!
Monday, June 6 Magennis is in a sweat as Aaron rouses the troops after milestone To mark his 100th Northern Ireland cap, Aaron Hughes was asked to give a speech in the dressing room in Slovakia on Saturday night. Some players suggested Josh Magennis got so emotional that he was wiping away tears following Aaron’s address. Magennis revealed: “The boys were thinking I was crying after his speech but it was just sweat. I did give him a hug and a kiss and said ‘congratulations’”.
Monday, June 6 Stuart Dallas is on cloud nine right now. It’s like all his Christmases have come at once... and in a way they have. The Leeds star got married to childhood sweetheart Juneve on Friday and flew into France last night with the Northern Ireland squad for Euro 2016. You could say he is in the honeymoon period of life which bodes well for the matches ahead.

Ukraine are Northern Ireland's next opponents on Thursday night at the Stade de Lyon. Dallas should be restored to the starting line-up and Northern Ireland will need to produce a much improved performance to even stay in contention. Defeat will end any hopes of progressing, but a draw keeps the dream of qualification to the knock-out stages alive.

"We have got to get a positive result in the next game now but we can do that," says Dallas.

"We are hurting but we will regroup and come back stronger. Everybody is obviously down at the minute but one of the great attributes of this squad is our tremendous team spirit and we will rally round each other, pick ourselves up and be in the right frame of mind come the Ukraine match.

"We'll be ready come Thursday - make no mistake about that."

Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Belfast, UK - February 12 , Pictured is fans reactions during the Northern Ireland fan zone in association with Vauxhall held at the Titanic Slipways as Northern Ireland take on Poland in the Euros on February 12, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 12 , Pictured is fans reactions during the Northern Ireland fan zone in association with Vauxhall held at the Titanic Slipways as Northern Ireland take on Poland in the Euros on February 12, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Northern Ireland fans look dejected whilst watching the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match between Northern Ireland and Poland at the Titanic Museum, Belfast.
Fans at Belfast's Titanic Slipways as Northern Ireland concede the goal during Poland's 1-0 victory in the Euros on February 12, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
A Northern Ireland supporter looks on during the Euro 2016 group C football match between Poland and Northern Ireland at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice on June 12, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 12 , Pictured is fans reactions during the Northern Ireland fan zone in association with Vauxhall held at the Titanic Slipways as Northern Ireland take on Poland in the Euros on February 12, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 12 , Pictured is fans reactions during the Northern Ireland fan zone in association with Vauxhall held at the Titanic Slipways as Northern Ireland take on Poland in the Euros on February 12, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 12 , Pictured is fans reactions during the Northern Ireland fan zone in association with Vauxhall held at the Titanic Slipways as Northern Ireland take on Poland in the Euros on February 12, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 12 , Pictured is fans reactions during the Northern Ireland fan zone in association with Vauxhall held at the Titanic Slipways as Northern Ireland take on Poland in the Euros on February 12, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Northern Ireland's goalkeeper Michael McGovern looks at the ball after Poland's forward Arkadiusz Milik scored during the Euro 2016 group C football match between Poland and Northern Ireland at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice on June 12, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Poland's defender Artur Jedrzejczyk (R) celebrates his team's victory next to Northern Ireland's forward Conor Washington at the end of the Euro 2016 group C football match between Poland and Northern Ireland at the Stade de Nice in Nice on June 12, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / TOBIAS SCHWARZTOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images
Northern Ireland fans look dejected whilst watching the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match between Northern Ireland and Poland at the Titanic Museum, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday June 12, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Jonny Evans of Northern Ireland applauds the supporters after his team's 0-1 defeat in the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Poland and Northern Ireland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 12, 2016 in Nice, France. Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
A Northern Ireland fan looks dejected whilst watching the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match between Northern Ireland and Poland at the Titanic Museum, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday June 12, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Gareth McAuley (R) and Northern Ireland players applaud after their 0-1 defeat in the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Poland and Northern Ireland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 12, 2016 in Nice, France. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Poland's defender Artur Jedrzejczyk (R) celebrates his team's victory next to Northern Ireland's forward Conor Washington at the end of the Euro 2016 group C football match between Poland and Northern Ireland at the Stade de Nice in Nice on June 12, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / TOBIAS SCHWARZTOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images
Conor Washington of Northern Ireland show their dejection after his team's 0-1 defeat in the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Poland and Northern Ireland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 12, 2016 in Nice, France. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Stade de Nice, Nice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday June 12, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Northern Ireland's defender Craig Cathcart reacts to his team's loss after the final whistle during the Euro 2016 group C football match between Poland and Northern Ireland at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice on June 12, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 12: Jonny Evans of Northern Ireland applauds the supporters after his team's 0-1 defeat in the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Poland and Northern Ireland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 12, 2016 in Nice, France. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland fans appear dejected in the stands after seeing their side concede the first goal of the game during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Stade de Nice, Nice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday June 12, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill on the touchline during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Stade de Nice, Nice.
Northern Ireland fans appear dejected in the stands after seeing their side concede the first goal of the game during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Stade de Nice, Nice. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.
Poland's forward Arkadiusz Milik (L) is congratualtes by teammates after scoring a goal during the Euro 2016 group C football match between Poland and Northern Ireland at the Stade de Nice in Nice on June 12, 2016.
Northern Ireland fans looks dejected after their team concede a goal as they watch the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match between Northern Ireland and Poland at the Titanic Museum, Belfast.
Arkadiusz Milik (2nd L) of Poland scores his team's first goal past Michael McGovern of Northern Ireland during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Poland and Northern Ireland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 12, 2016 in Nice, France. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland Manager Michael O'Neill during this afternoons Euro 2016 International at the Allianz stadium in Nice on Sunday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Northern Ireland Fans at this afternoons Euro 2016 International at the Allianz stadium in Nice on Sunday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis and Poland's Michał Pazdan during this afternoons Euro 2016 International at the Allianz stadium in Nice on Sunday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Poland's midfielder Krzysztof Maczynski (C) passes the ball during the Euro 2016 group C football match between Poland and Northern Ireland at the Stade de Nice in Nice on June 12, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / TOBIAS SCHWARZTOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images
Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair (right) and Poland's Arkadiusz Milik battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Stade de Nice, Nice. Nick Potts/PA Wire.
Pat Jennings (centre) in the stands during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Stade de Nice, Nice. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.
Sir Alex Ferguson (centre) in the stands during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Stade de Nice, Nice. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.
Kyle Lafferty of Northern Ireland interacts with Wojciech Szczesny of Poland during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Poland and Northern Ireland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 12, 2016 in Nice, France. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Kate Hoey shows her support in the stands during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Stade de Nice, Nice. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland fans during Sundays Euro 2016, Group C match against Poland at the Stade de Nice, France.
Artur Jedrzejczyk of Poland and Kyle Lafferty of Northern Ireland compete for the ball during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Poland and Northern Ireland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 12, 2016 in Nice, France. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland fans during Sundays Euro 2016, Group C match against Poland at the Stade de Nice, France.
Poland's Robert Lewandowski heads at goal whilst under pressure from Northern Ireland's Conor McLaughlin (left) during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Stade de Nice, Nice.
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 12th June 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Northern Ireland fan supporting Northern Ireland against Poland EURO 2016 at the Stade de Nice. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Northern Ireland fans during Sundays Euro 2016, Group C match against Poland at the Stade de Nice, France.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th June 2016 - Photo by Press Eye - First Minister Arlene Foster with IFA President Jim Shaw and IFA Chief Executive Patrick Nelson at Poland V Northern Ireland in Nice, France.
Northern Ireland fans show their support in the stands before the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Stade de Nice, Nice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday June 12, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Northern Ireland fans show their support in the stands before the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Stade de Nice, Nice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday June 12, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Northern Ireland fans show their support in the stands before the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Stade de Nice, Nice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday June 12, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Poland's starting eleven pose for a group picture during the Euro 2016 group C football match between Poland and Northern Ireland at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice on June 12, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Poland supporters cheer their team on during the Euro 2016 group C football match between Poland and Northern Ireland at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice on June 12, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Northern Ireland supporters cheer during the Euro 2016 group C football match between Poland and Northern Ireland at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice on June 12, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis (centre) during the warm-up before the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Stade de Nice, Nice.
Northern Ireland fans in the stands during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Stade de Nice, Nice.
Northern Ireland fans show their support in the stands before the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Stade de Nice, Nice.
Northern Ireland fans during Sundays Euro 2016, Group C match against Poland at the Stade de Nice, France.
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 12th June 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Northern Ireland fan Josh Baines aged 8, and father Roger and Grandfather Jim from Kilkeel enjoying the sunshine in Nice ahead of the Northern Ireland against Poland EURO 2016 match at the Stade de Nice. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 12th June 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Northern Ireland fan Matthew Gibson , aged 12, from Donaghadee enjoying the sunshine in Nice ahead of the Northern Ireland against Poland EURO 2016 match at the Stade de Nice. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 12th June 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Northern Ireland fans Ruth and David Crawford and Louise Hamilton from Donegal , enjoying the sunshine in Nice ahead of the Northern Ireland against Poland EURO 2016 match at the Stade de Nice. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 12th June 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Northern Ireland fans Uel,William,Ian,Ken and Hugh Moulds from Lisburn , enjoying the sunshine in Nice ahead of the Northern Ireland against Poland EURO 2016 match at the Stade de Nice. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 12th June 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Northern Ireland fans Olivia and Roy Kelly from Bangor, enjoying the sunshine in Nice ahead of the Northern Ireland against Poland EURO 2016 match at the Stade de Nice. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 12th June 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Northern Ireland fan Marc, Gillian, Ann and Colin Francey from Portrush , enjoying the sunshine in Nice ahead of the Northern Ireland against Poland EURO 2016 match at the Stade de Nice. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 12th June 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Northern Ireland fan David Clint from Comber , enjoying the sunshine in Nice ahead of the Northern Ireland against Poland EURO 2016 match at the Stade de Nice. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 12th June 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Northern Ireland fans Uel,William,Ian,Ken and Hugh Moulds from Lisburn , enjoying the sunshine in Nice ahead of the Northern Ireland against Poland EURO 2016 match at the Stade de Nice. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Northern Ireland v Poland Euro 2016 Group C Northern Ireland Fans From L-R Graeme Hamilton, Conor Munn, Scott Robinson and Luke McCreery at this afternoons Euro 2016 International at the Allianz stadium in Nice on Sunday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Northern Ireland v Poland Euro 2016 Group C Northern Ireland Fans Graeme Hamilton, Conor Munn, Scott Robinson and Luke McCreery with Polish fans at this afternoons Euro 2016 International at the Allianz stadium in Nice on Sunday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Northern Ireland v Poland Euro 2016 Group C Northern Ireland Fans Graeme Hamilton, Conor Munn, Scott Robinson and Luke McCreery get a selfie with Polish Fans at this afternoons Euro 2016 International at the Allianz stadium in Nice on Sunday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Carl Frampton with fellow Northern Ireland fan James Tait in Nice
Northern Ireland v Poland Euro 2016 Group C Northern Ireland Fans David , Stuart and Colin Bell at this afternoons Euro 2016 International at the Allianz stadium in Nice on Sunday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
First Minister Arlene Foster joins Northern Ireland fans in Nice ahead of their opening Euro 2016 game against Poland on Sunday.
First Minister Arlene Foster joins Northern Ireland fans in Nice ahead of their opening Euro 2016 game against Poland on Sunday.
First Minister Arlene Foster joins Northern Ireland fans in Nice ahead of their opening Euro 2016 game against Poland on Sunday.
First Minister Arlene Foster joins Northern Ireland fans in Nice ahead of their opening Euro 2016 game against Poland on Sunday.
Northern Ireland supporter and Groom Stuart Stockman (second left) outside the Ma Nolan's Irish pub in Nice, France ahead of his team's opening match against Poland in Euro 2016. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 11, 2016. See PA story SPORT Euro2016 StagNI. Photo credit should read: Michael McHugh/PA Wire
Northern Ireland supporters enjoying the sights of Nice, France ahead of the team's opening match against Poland in Euro 2016.
Northern Ireland fans appear on the balcony of their hotel on the seafront near Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France. PA
Northern Ireland fans are joined by a Polish football fan as they arrive on the seafront near Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France. PA
Northern Ireland fans appear on the balcony of their hotel on the seafront near Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France. PA
Northern Ireland fans appear on the balcony of their hotel on the seafront near Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France. PA
Northern Ireland fans arrive on the seafront near Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France. PA
Northern Ireland fans arrive on the beach near Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France. PA
Northern Ireland fans Chris Geoghegan and Richard McKnight from Belfast bump into Gary Lineker in France.
Philip Wright on tour with the Green and White army. They left on a 6am flight to Nice.
Ballymacash Northern Ireland supporter's club head off to France. Pic: Andrew Clarke
David Johnston and fellow Northern Ireland fans head off to France.
Crawford McCullough's 'mancave' in Bangor Co Down.
Northern Ireland flags flying in France. Picture: Dennis Russell
Adam Topping (33) from Scarva Northern Ireland in St Raphael. He has tickets all the way to the final so will not be home until July 11.
A Northern Ireland fan samples some ice cream in Lyon, France. Thursday June 9, 2016. PA
Colin Porter passing the time before he heads to Nice. Pic: Gary Porter
Home for Bedfordshire based Dave Price and his pals for the next two weeks at least
Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland fans on their way to France for Euro 2016. Pic: Gregg Clarke.
Northern Ireland fans Eddie McCullough and Ian Thompson pictured at the boulangerie in Georges de Reneins, France ahead of the opening Euro 2016 game against Poland in Lyon on Sunday. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 09th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland Fan Ian Thompson from Ballymena travel threw St Georges de Reneines in a camper van, on the way to Nice as N Ireland face Poland in their opening match on Sunday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty pictured during Fridays training session in St Georges de Reneins, France ahead of their opening Euro 2016 game against Poland on Sunday.

Belfast Telegraph

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