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Euro 2012 play-off

Listen Up Craicow, The Irish are Comin’

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. Continue reading →

Trap Gets Ireland up the Pole

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. Continue reading →

Preview: Ireland Caught Between Estone and a Euro Place

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. Continue reading →

Time We Sprung the Play-Off Trap

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. Continue reading →

Pride, In the Name of Duff

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. Continue reading →

Go Green On November 15

The Republic of Ireland face Estonia in the qualifying play-offs for Euro 2012. Get behind the campaign. Back Giovanni Trapattoni’s Irish squad as they strive to return the national team to the world stage, a first tournament since 2002, and our first European Championships since 1988. Whether you’ll be in the Aviva Stadium for the second leg or watching on TV, Go Green on November 15. Continue reading →