Friday 28 October 2016

Behind enemy lines: Snooker legend Ken Doherty toasts Ireland's win in style in Dusseldorf

Ken Doherty watched the game in McLaughlin’s Irish bar in Dusseldorf
Ken Doherty watched the game in McLaughlin’s Irish bar in Dusseldorf

REVENGE for the crippling bailout and debt deal?

Probably not, but it certainly felt that way for many after the Irish soccer team defeated world champions Germany at the Aviva stadium to give themselves a chance of qualifying automatically for the 2016 European Championships.

Shane Long’s 70th-minute goal separated the sides at the end of an enthralling match at the Aviva and ensured that Ireland have at least secured a play-off spot.

The scenes across the streets of Dublin afterwards were reminiscent with the heady days of Italia ’90.

High-spirited fans were spotted across Dublin keeping the party going until the early hours of this morning.

Even in Germany, the Irish were celebrating.

Ken Doherty toasted the win there with fellow snooker player Joe Swail, in McLaughlin’s Irish bar in Dusseldorf.

Doherty said on his Facebook account that he was “proud to watch that team” and told his followers “wish I was in Ranelagh now”.

Damien Byrne, part-owner of the bar, told the Herald, “Ken was pulling pints and getting his picture taken”.

“We have had a couple of famous faces through our doors like Westlife.

“I didn’t think we were going to do it, but the party went on pretty late,” said the Finglas man, who has been living in Germany for over 20 years.

Sport Minister Paschal Donohoe was up early today and told RTE radio that he “never experienced anything like last night”.

“The final 20 minutes after Shane Long scored his goal and then the four minutes of extra time I think were feelings of unbelievable tensions for everybody and then pure euphoria,” Mr Donohoe said.

The win set up a major day of sport on Sunday with the soccer team taking on Poland in the final qualifier match. Before that the Irish rugby team will attempt to secure top spot in their World Cup group as they take on France in Cardiff.

Celebrities, sport pundits and politicians sent Twitter into overdrive after last night’s match.

Comedian Jason Byrne joked that “Ireland will be closed for a week” following the win and said the country will shutdown “indefinitely” if Ireland win in the rugby and football at the weekend.

Singer Niall ‘Bressie’ Breslin, who said he suffers from anxiety disorders, tweeted that games like last night’s “take years off me”.

RTE sports broadcaster Des Cahill said that the country seems to have “a magical day every few months”.

Even the country’s politicians took to Twitter to join in the celebrations.

Independent TD Shane Ross believes the Government will use the uplifted mood of the country to its advantage.

He said that if Ireland qualify against Poland on Sunday that “you can bet the house on November election”.

He added if Ireland beats France in the Rugby World Cup on Sunday then “throw in the life insurance” on an early poll date.

Former Ireland manager Brian Kerr said “freshness” will be required going into Sunday’s match.“Many players were historic in the match. There is still another job to be done on Sunday. It is such a short turn around,” he said.

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