Nations League: Five more Republic of Ireland players miss Wales game after new positive Covid-19 case

The Republic of Ireland will be severely depleted for Sunday's game against Wales and Wednesday's match in Finland
The scene from inside the Aviva Stadium on Sunday morning

A further five Republic of Ireland players missed Sunday's Nations League draw with Wales after one of them tested positive for Covid-19.

The Football Association of Ireland said that an unnamed player tested positive on Friday after having tested negative last Monday.

Four other squad members identified as close contacts of the player were also stood down for Sunday's match.

Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah were already out because of a Covid issue.

They were set to feature in Thursday's Euro 2020 play-off game in Slovakia but were ruled out shortly before kick-off after being deemed to have been in close contact with a member of the Republic's backroom team who tested positive for Covid-19.

Manager Stephen Kenny made an appeal to the Irish medical authorities about the duo's exclusion from the match - which the Republic lost on penalties after a 0-0 draw - but it was unsuccessful.

Republic side shows four changes

The Republic's team announced some 80 minutes before Sunday's 14:00 BST kick-off showed four changes from Thursday's starting line-up as they were able to name only seven substitutes including goalkeepers Mark Travers and Caoimhin Kelleher.

While injured pair David McGoldrick and James McCarthy were ruled out, the squad showed no sign of centre-back John Egan, forward Callum Robinson and midfielders Alan Browne and Callum O'Dowda, who all featured in Slovakia.

Kevin Long replaced Egan in defence with Jayson Molumby taking over from McCarthy in midfield.

Shane Long and Robbie Brady came into the starting line-up in place of McGoldrick and Robinson.

In a further twist, the FAI statement said the staff member who tested positive in Bratislava on Wednesday may have received a "false positive" result.

The FAI said two tests carried out on the individual on Saturday "confirmed no trace of Covid-19", adding that it would now "discuss the issue with Uefa".

"In light of these developments, the FAI wishes to make it clear that it complied with all Uefa and HSE [Irish Health Service Executive] Covid-19 guidelines concerning the availability of players and the well-being of staff around the Slovakia v Republic of Ireland fixture in Bratislava on Thursday night."

Sunday's news further depleted a squad which went into the three games minus injured captain Seamus Coleman and which is now shorn of Sheffield United striker David McGoldrick who picked up a thigh injury in Thursday's heartbreaking play-off defeat.

The Republic face Finland away in the Nations League on Wednesday evening.

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