The Guardian predicts Wolves will welcome back their jubilant Irish contingent for this weekend’s clash with Everton.
Within seconds of the final whistle in Paris two years ago, the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feelin” boomed out across the Stade de France. Every bass thump stabbing at the splintered hearts of the Irish fans who sat in disbelief. The French hung around for a matter of mere minutes before disappearing into the Parisien night, barely registering that they had just qualified for the World Cup but embarrassed and unable to look the visiting fans in the eyes. Two years on and instead of facing into 90 minutes of nail-biting tension, the Aviva Stadium is going to rock to the rhythm of the Boys in Green’s victory parade. Ireland are going back to a major finals and tonight’s gonna be a good night.
The best thing about this video is that Trap has no idea how crazy the country is going to go.
Well, no one was expecting that. All the pre-match thought predicted a cagey Irish performance, a low-scoring game, and deemed an away goal a bonus. We can book the flights to Poland and Ukraine. A 4-0 win reflected a dominant Irish performance, particularly in the second half and the nation is waking up today with massive smile on its face. Dublin on Tuesday is going to be a hell of a party.
“I grew up all my life as an Irish supporter and just because I live in England now doesn’t mean I don’t know what it means to the people.”
A return to the dreaded two-game shootout but this one feels different. Ireland are no longer the underdogs and we are shifting uncomfortably in our seats. Let’s put ourselves in Estonia’s boots, however. They lost four games in qualifying but wins away to the North, Slovenia, and Serbia catapulted them into dreamland. Then the play-off draw gave them the easiest of the top seeds, the Irish who haven’t qualified for a tournament in ten years. With the game drawing ever closer, the Estonians are giddy with anticipation. A first ever tournament beckons. They are us in 1987.
“As a kid, you always supported Ireland. I always supported teams in the Premier League, but Ireland was the team you watched and you cared about the most.”
GIVEN the law of averages we’re due one, aren’t we? No, I’m not talking about a smile from Mick McCarthy, or an expression from Trap that doesn’t leave the nation baffled (cats in bags – what?), but a win in a play-off. It doesn’t have to be a nine-goal thriller. Or even a thriller, for that matter. At this stage there aren’t many people who wouldn’t take a scrappy affair as long as it ends with us packing our bags (without cats please, Giovanni) for Poland and the Ukraine next Summer.
It’s time to ditch the cynicism. While England debates whether John Terry is deserving of her captaincy, a much-maligned Irish football team has more important responsibilities; two games to revive a nation that has been kicked from pillar to post and that is crying out for something to restore our battered pride.
Euro 2012 play-off: Republic of Ireland vs Estonia.
180 minutes to end ten years of pain,
to return to the world stage,
to deploy the Green Army across Europe,
to bury all the doom and gloom,
to exorcise the ghosts of Paris.
Come On You Boys In Green