'It's very real now' - Republic boss McCarthy urges supporters to follow safety guidelines

Mick McCarthy
McCarthy and his wife Fiona are currently self-isolating at home

Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy has urged supporters to follow guidelines on self-isolating, admitting the threat of coronavirus is "very real now".

McCarthy revealed he is isolating at his home in Bromley after two of his neighbours were diagnosed with Covid-19.

The Republic's Euro 2020 play-off against Slovakia, originally scheduled for 26 March, has been pushed back to 4 June.

"It is very real now," McCarthy told the FAI.

"You look at the footage of the Italian Army carrying coffins from houses and it shows you where this could end up. That's the threat this poses.

McCarthy says he agrees with Uefa's decision to postpone the Euros until 2021, a decision which raises uncertainty over his future as Republic boss.

When McCarthy returned for his second spell in charge in November 2018, it was agreed that Republic Under-21s boss Stephen Kenny would replace him following the Euro 2020 finals.

"Postponing our game in Slovakia and delaying the Euros for a year was the right thing to do," added McCarthy.

"We are not complaining about that, not at all. It was the right decision by Uefa and we fully support it.

'We have to take heed and learn the lessons'

Republic of Ireland after draw with Denmark
The Republic's last match was a 1-1 draw with Denmark on 18 November

"Football will come back when the time is right and we have resolved all these issues. For now, we have to take notice of what's happening in Ireland, in Britain and across Europe and the world.

"We have to take heed and learn the lessons. When you see the sacrifices our doctors, nurses, medical teams and frontline services are making, when you see the work they are doing, we have to say thank you and we have to play our part. Let's do this together. Let's stay safe."

McCarthy revealed that he and his wife, Fiona, are staying at home and are not coming into contact with their children or grandchildren after being informed of their neighbours' diagnoses.

"Like so many others, we are trying so hard to play by the rules here and stay at home," he said.

"My wife Fiona and I are not seeing our children or our grandchildren and it's tough.

"We are doing what the authorities are telling us and that is the message I want to send to everyone in Ireland today. Let's do as we are told - let's ensure we listen to the guidelines so that we don't end up like Italy."

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