Keane urges calm ahead of Euros
Robbie Keane has told his Ireland team-mates to relax as they prepare to launch themselves into Euro 2012 battle.
The squad left Dublin for their pre-tournament training camp in Montecatini on Sunday, two weeks to the day before they open their campaign against Croatia in Poznan.
While training and Saturday's 1-0 friendly win over Bosnia-Herzegovina have had an impressive intensity, Keane has warned against peaking too soon. He said: "It's important that the players stay relaxed up until that first game against Croatia. We can't get too tensed up....If you are too hyped up and too desperate, you end up doing something stupid."
He went on: "I mentioned before we played Estonia [in the Euro 2012 play-off] how relaxed the players were. As a player, me personally, I think the more relaxed you go into a game, actually the better you play. That's always been the case with me.
"The mood has been very relaxed, but saying that, the intensity in training in football terms has been brilliant."
Spirits were high as the players and manager Giovanni Trapattoni set off for the latest phase of their preparations, despite the absence of midfielder Keith Fahey, who finally had to admit defeat in his battle to recover from a groin injury and headed home, with Paul Green being drafted in in his place.
John O'Shea, Kevin Foley and Shay Given remain concerns, although the Aston Villa goalkeeper appears to be the least pressing of them, but Trapattoni's men emerged from the game with far more more positives than negatives.
Richard Dunne's torn abdominal muscle, which had prevented him from training during the early part of the week, had clearly healed as he turned in another imperious display to keep Edin Dzeko and Veded Ibisevic at bay, although Keane was not in the slightest surprised.
He said: "It was just a typical performance, wasn't it, from Richard? He wasn't losing too many headers playing against two good centre-forwards, but what do you expect? That's what we expect from Richard. He's been like that for a number of years and he is very important to what we are trying to do here."
There were eye-catching displays too from wide men James McClean, who played the full 90 minutes on his first senior start, and Aiden McGeady, who responded to the challenge laid down by the Sunderland midfielder with a fine display after being introduced as a half-time substitute.