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Saturday 21 October 2017

Green Army go home delirious as spoils shared with Polish fans

29/03/15
Fans pictured as Ireland vs Poland in the UEFA European Championship Qualifying Round at the Aviva stadium on Lansdowne Road, Dublin this evening...
Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
29/03/15 Fans pictured as Ireland vs Poland in the UEFA European Championship Qualifying Round at the Aviva stadium on Lansdowne Road, Dublin this evening... Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
29/03/15 Fans Zultan and Lasizo Fesh pictured as Ireland vs Poland in the UEFA European Championship Qualifying Round at the Aviva stadium on Lansdowne Road, Dublin this evening... Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
29/03/15 Fan William Oxley from Stradbally pictured at Ireland vs Poland in the UEFA European Championship Qualifying Round at the Aviva stadium on Lansdowne Road, Dublin this evening... Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
29/3/15 Polish fans on their way to the Ireland v Poland match at the Aviva stadium in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron
29/03/15 Fans pictured as Ireland vs Poland in the UEFA European Championship Qualifying Round at the Aviva stadium on Lansdowne Road, Dublin this evening... Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Polish fans in Temple Bar today as they take on Ireland tonight

They came in their tens of thousands, and for the Irish and Polish who call Ireland home it was a match made in heaven.

Although Poland were physically stronger and took the lead on 26 minutes, dogged Ireland persisted until the end.

Shane Long finally found the net in the dying moments of the crunch European Championship qualifer game and the crowd went wild.

Before that, the green army struggled to be heard among the deafening Polish supporters who invaded Landsdowne Road and the city from early afternoon.

Home

A huge sign draped over the side of the seats in the Aviva read in Polish: "We are playing at home", and it certainly felt like that.

Poland supporters Gabriella Dabrawska and Kinga Gorska had travelled over from London for the match and on their first visit to Ireland - only to find themselves on oddly familiar ground.

"We did not expect this at all," said a bewildered Gabriella.

"It's so much like home - we did not know there were so many Polish people here."

The stadium was packed to the rafters with smoke from pink flares blowing onto the pitch.

Both sets of fans gave their all to cheer on their teams.

For one Irish fan the entire experience was overwhelming.

Captain Robbie Keane invited Cody Mulhall (10), from Graiguecullen, Co Carlow, to his personal corporate box.

The little boy, who has cystic fibrosis, became "best friends" with the Ireland striker after he met him on a visit to Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin.

The LA Galaxy star had another surprise for Cody and invited him to meet all the Irish team at a reception afterwards.

His mother, Michelle, brought Cody to the match last night along with his sisters Kelsey (18), who also has CF, Victoria (11) and brother Kyle (21).

"It's amazing because these are memories he will always have," she said of Cody's magical night.

She said he had been bitterly disappointed to miss Robbie's visit to Crumlin hospital with the LA Galaxy players in February. And Cody was the first person Robbie looked for when he arrived.

"But he said 'it's ok mammy because I'm one of Robbie Keane's best friends'," Michelle revealed.

"They just sort of clicked from the start. They get on great and chat away together. Robbie is so good to him.

"He's tough. He's very brave and that's what Robbie always tells him - to take it all in your stride," Michelle said.

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