Derry City, Dundalk, Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers all returned to collective training today as part of the FAI's programme to ensure a safe return for soccer.

All four European qualified clubs will play in a behind closed doors competition on a date that's yet to be confirmed, before the league resumes.

The teams have been going through Covid-19 testing in the build-up to a return to training with no-one yet testing positive for the virus.

Other SSE Airtricity League squads can return to collective training on 15 June, while the FAI are working on a return to play protocols for them and the Women's National League clubs.

Hoops defender Roberto Lopes said there was "excitement" about the prospect of finally getting back to action, and that players were happily adapting to the new procedures.

"It's sort of exciting because it is new," he told RTÉ Sport's Tony O'Donoghue.

"We all have to adapt to it. We were told before we came to training what was required of us. When we arrived at training you go through the testing procedures, you've to do weigh-ins, and obviously maintain the hygiene. It's great, it's all new and something you have to adapt to.

"I think the excitement of getting back and the drive of trying to get back to the levels you were before the shutdown, that's motivation for us to really kick on."

As for the players' current fitness levels, Lopes said a lot of work has been done in the enforced break.  

"It actually wasn't that difficult (to stay motivated in the lockdown) at all because I felt if I wasn't doing any work I was going to go off my head juts sitting around the house.

"It was good to get out and push yourself, work hard, just to feel like you've done your bit so you can rest for the rest of the day."