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The Euros has been a roller coaster both emotionally and football wise for Ireland. The high of the Sweden experience and the low of the Belgium debacle in the opening two games must have made team preparation a nightmare.
I wrote last week, for Extratime.ie that Performance Analysis was Pivotal and Ireland proved that in the game with Italy, where they learned from the mistakes of the Belgium game and why the half time break against France could be crucial.
However Ireland are a professional outfit and they use 'state of the art' technology and approach. In this instance that means video performance analysis and Avenir Sports, a Galway based company, have been Ireland's secret weapon for a decade now.
Seamus Coleman, interviewed, on 'Off the Ball' after the Italian game and when asked 'where did that performance come from'? highlighted the value of analysis when he referred to the manager making some points about the Belgium game - being better on the ball and retaining possession. "As individuals we looked at the video as well and could see where he was coming from."
The team used Hudl software, for the match and individual analysis review and as goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh says "I can just pick the Hudl app up, go into what the goalkeepers have been doing and just evaluate the performance"
Quite simply Ireland learned from the Belgium experience! How did they learn? Ireland's senior Analyst Ger Dunne, bearing out what Seamus said, says, “We look at individual games, individual players, we look at our own players, opposition teams, opposition players and we break down all of that in a really easy way for the coaches and the players to have a look at.”
Ireland's turnaround for the Italian game points to critical and clinical analysis being pivotal elements in formulating the game plan that has brought the team to the last sixteen - Ger Dunne further acknowledges the 'secret weapon' without Avenir Sports it would have not been possible for me to achieve what I have achieved in the last year"
Much of the groundwork for the 'analysis process' was set in train at the training camp in Fota, where the coaching team spoke about the value of the partnership with Avenir Sports.
Ireland operate an in-game live review process, utilising SportsCode that allows second by second visual analysis of the performance on an interactive report window.
The half time break in the game with France could be crucial, why? because the management and players will be presented with that 'Interactive Report Window' with a visual concise review of the first half performance - that in-game review could bring Ireland to the quarter finals.