REVEALED: Brighton forward Aaron Connolly had to miss Ireland’s Euro 2020 play-off defeat in Slovakia because his seat on the flight was 10 CENTIMETERS too close to a member of staff who was tested positive for coronavirus
- Aaron Connolly missed Ireland’s loss to Slovakia on Thursday
- He had sat 1.9m from a staff member who tested positive for Covid-19
- The Brighton striker was in line to start the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final
- Connolly is now in doubt for Brighton’s trip to Crystal Palace next weekend
AARON Connolly was forced to miss Republic of Ireland’s defeat in Euro 2020 play-offs in Slovakia after his seat on the team’s plane was 10 centimeters too close to a member of staff who was then tested positive for Covid-19.
The striker will now return to club Brighton and miss the Irish Nations League matches against Wales on Sunday and Finland on Wednesday.
Connolly reportedly started Thursday night’s semi-final against Slovakia, which ended in a penalty shootout after a goalless draw.
Aaron Connolly was forced to miss Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2020 play-off loss in Slovakia
The attacker was sitting too close to a member of staff who tested positive for coronavirus
But the Irish health service official insisted Connolly must self-isolate after reviewing the seating chart for Tuesday’s flight to Bratislava. He revealed the 20-year-old was 1.9 meters from the individual who returned a positive test the next day.
The Irish Football Association spent most of the day on Thursday appealing to the HSE to have their instruction overturned, but that request was rejected on the grounds that Connolly had been within two meters of the individual for more two hours. It is believed the player was seated in the back row.
This means Connolly and Norwich striker Adam Idah – who was seated 1.7m away – was forced to self-isolate and arrangements were made on Friday for the duo to travel to the UK independently of the Ireland team.
Ireland’s hopes of reaching Euro 2020 next summer have ended in penalty kicks
Slovakia beat Ireland 4-2 on penalties after 120 minutes of football ended 0-0
The episode is embarrassing for the FAI, which has lost one of its key players to a loss that sees them miss a tournament of which it is one of the host cities.
Another Irish employee within the team’s bubble returned a positive test on Monday and three staff members were forced to withdraw from the travel group.
Substitutions have been made but it is understood that one of those subsequently tested positive in Slovakia on Wednesday. Three non-playing staff members were left behind in Slovakia.
Connolly, meanwhile, is in doubt for Brighton’s Premier League trip to Crystal Palace next weekend, given that the game will fall within 14 days of coming into close contact with the person who tested positive .
Likewise Idah, with Norwich facing both Rotherham and Birmingham during this time.
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