Ireland were clearly outclassed and out scored by a superb Spanish side last night. My prediction of 3-1 in Spain’s favour was clearly too optimistic, as the Irish team were beaten 4-0. The writing was already on the wall only 4 minutes into the game, but despite a thorough hiding, the Irish fans did what they do best, and got behind their team and belted out a spine tingling rendition of “Fields of Athenry”.
You can say what you want about Irish footballers, but the Irish football fans are loved and welcomed wherever they go. And to stand in the stadium and sing to your hearts content and enjoy the simple act of just being there and enjoying the moment is what we do best.
I am proud to say that I am Irish. Yes, of course it would be wonderful to get out of the group and into the knock-out phase. But the simple fact of the matter is that we do not have any major talent in the team at present and in all honesty, we were lucky to even qualify. Given that 13 of the top 20 countries in the world are playing in the Euro 2012 championship, you really are up against the best of the best and need to be in top form…..a case echoed and demonstrated by the awful demonstration of football exhibited by the Dutch national team.
I am proud to be Irish also, because wherever we go, our reputation precedes us….in a good way. Sure, we get teased about our penchant for imbibing in a few scoops, and sure you’ll find a few of us passed out on the streets of Poznan or Gdansk….but you won’t find us unfurling a flag whose sole intent is to insult one of the host nations. Sadly, this incitement of hatred is a past-time enjoyed by many Russian fans who are hell bent on causing chaos and destruction wherever they go.
So go out there and shake your shamrock, wave the tricolour with pride and have another pint to lubricate and limber up for another verse…..altogether now 🙂