Monday 22 January 2018

A draw on the pitch... but Irish fans win easily in party stakes

Mary and Christine Forsyth with a Swedish supporter. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Mary and Christine Forsyth with a Swedish supporter. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Mark Hanratty (left), from Blackrock, and Stephen Flood, from Dalkey. Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland fans in great form prior to the game. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland supporters prior to the UEFA Euro 2016 Group E match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden at Stade de France. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ireland may have shared the spoils in their Euro 2016 clash with Sweden, but the Green Army hammered the Scandinavians in the partying stakes.

The Irish team narrowly missed out on a famous victory over Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Swedes, but fans still delivered a party that Paris hadn't witnessed since the French won the 1998 World Cup.

Irish fans were also able to toast their heroes at the fanzone as Paris authorities opted to ignore a proposal from Interior minister Bernard Cazaneuve for all venues to ban alcohol sales.

Beer, wine and champagne was on sale from noon, with Irish fans who failed in their desperate quest for a Stade de France ticket determined to make the most of being by the Seine.

"I was offered a €145 ticket by a French lad but he wanted €400 for it. I just wasn't paying it. But at least I've a ticket for the Italy game in Lille," a heartbroken John Power, from Tallaght, said.

The huge Dublin contingent of the Green Army was bullish about the fortunes of the Ireland squad.

"I think we're going to get a result against Italy," Charlie Kinsella, from Coolock, insisted.

"It's all to play for. But the Belgian game will be very tough."

Charlie and his friends arrived in France in a fleet of campervans, including a 1974 Ford Transit.

"We're staying out in Versailles. We're all referees back home."

There were a few notable Irish faces in Paris, including RTE's Fergal Keane and comedian Karl Spain.

Fergal was fulfilling a promise to bring his sons, Shane (17) and Kevin (12), along with their friend, Matt Barry (18), to Euro 2016 on a holiday.

Comedian Karl was also in Paris with friends while his sister, Tara, is in France for the footie.

The fanzone also witnessed a little "luck of the Irish".

"We were out last night and found €200 laying on the street," Debra Doherty, from Swords, admitted.

"We had prosecco for breakfast this morning and the rest of the cash will pay for our meal out tonight," she said.

The Green Army's performance made for an extra-special evening for lovebirds Sinead Marshall and David Ward.

Sinead, from Castleknock, and David, from Walkinstown, got engaged the evening of Ireland's Euro 2016 draw - and their engagement present was a trip to Paris.

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