There was a friendly welcome as Oxford United landed in Dublin for their pre-season tour this morning.
Karl Robinson's squad were met at arrivals by exiled fan David Symmons and his young sons Oscar and Charlie- one sporting a yellow top for the U's and the other in his Irish shirt.
The U's landed early this morning and headed for their training base at Portmarnock where after a team meeting they set off on a walk in the glorious sunshine to get the journey out of their legs before some far more intensive training truly begins.
There were a couple of notable absentees in new father Simon Eastwood who will join up with the squad in the next couple of days following the arrival of his daugher this week, and Tony McMahon who was granted compassionate leave and will also join up with the team on Monday.
The one new face to greet the players was coach Damien Doyle who will be helping Scott Daly and the backroom team put the players through their paces ahead of three friendlies."I've worked with Damien for eight years or so" Karl told us "and he will be a big help in what we expect to achieve here. It will be tough for the players but it is all about getting ready and giving ourselves the best chance of starting the season well."
United play Portmarnock on Monday 9th July, Longford Town on Tuesday 10th and UCD on Wednesday 11th
We will have full and exclusive coverage of the tour of Ireland on all of the official channels. Keep up to date on Twitter (@OUFCOfficial), Facebook (Oxford United Official) and right here on the website where we will have daily stories and a full tour diary. IFollow will have video interviews every day plus player takeovers and exclusive behind the scenes footage as well as all three games to listen to thanks to our friends at BBC Oxford**
If you are heading for Ireland next week then we will have full ticket and travel details of all the games here. Please note that there are now only a handful of coach places available from Dublin to Longford for the Tuesday game- call 01865 337533 today to avoid missing out.
While the first team head for Dublin there will be two more pre-season trips happening with both the under 23s and under 18s also heading off for training camps.Chris Allen and Dan Harris will be taking the under 23 squad to Lilleshall while Leon Blackmore-Such and Chris Hackett head for Devon with the youth team.
Meanwhile the under 18s are at an army base today before spending a week at the Manor House and Ashbury hotel in Devon Pictures and a report to follow
First Team Friendlies
|Mon 9||Portmarnock AFC||a||7.30pm|
|Tue 10||Longford Town||a||6.45pm|
|Sat 14th||Oxford City||a||12.30pm|
|Sat 14th||Hampton and Richmond Borough||a||4pm|
|Tue 17th||Aldershot Town||a||7.45pm|
|Wed 18th||Hungerford Town||a||7.30pm|
|Sat 21st||Crystal Palace||H||3pm|
|Tue 24th||Leeds United||H||7.45pm|
|Fri 27th||MK Dons||a||7.45pm|
Oxford United under 23 friendlies:
|Monday 23rd July||Burnham FC||a||19:30|
|Saturday 28th July||Brentford||a||13:00|
|Monday 31st July||Enfield Town||a||19:45|
Under 18 fixtures
|Saturday 7th July||Barnet||a||11:00|
|Monday 10th July||Aylesbury FC**||a||19:45|
|Saturday 21st July||Coventry City||a||11:00|
|Wednesday 25th July||Corby Town||a||19:00|
* subject to facilities
**originally advertised as Abingdon United away. This game will now be against Aylesbury