Tuesday 25 September 2018

Fans dancing in the stands as 'MonRoy' kick off a new era with the perfect start

Pictured at the Aviva Stadium last night: Julia O'Connor and Zara Egan
Pictured at the Aviva Stadium last night: Julia O'Connor and Zara Egan
Pictured at the Aviva Stadium last night: Patrick Kehoe and Elayne Grant with their children Rachael, Dylan and Kasey.
Pictured at the Aviva Stadium last night: Martin McDonagh and his son Aron
Pictured at the Aviva Stadium last night: a fan gives a colourful welcome to O'Neill and Keane
NEW FACES: Roy Keane (left) and Martin O'Neill take charge of their first game as Ireland coaches

THEY chanted Keano but nobody is quite sure which one they were cheering for.

On the pitch Robbie dominated, on the sideline Roy even smiled – and in the stands they loved it.

The opposition might only have been Latvia but this was about new beginnings.

The Poznan (remember the dance) even got an outing as the fans signalled their support will carry to Poland next week.

Yes the era of MonRoy is under way and all seems right with Irish soccer – for the moment at least.

Martin O'Neill's army were out in full force as the Aviva stands were filled for what would otherwise have been a low-key affair. On the way into the ground supporters snapped up flags with O'Neill and Keane's pictures on the front.



And they were rewarded for their faith when old reliable Robbie Keane scrambled the ball into the net mid-way through the first half. O'Neill must have been particularly delighted to see his former Celtic protege Aidan McGeady slam the second goal home.

The fans loved it. And Shane Long provided the icing on the cake with the third goal before the end.

It was a tour de force also by the Green Army, not seen since they travelled en masse to Euro 2012.

Lucia Donnelly (51), from Lusk, said that she was "excited and overjoyed".

"We would like to welcome Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane both.

"Irish soccer is excitement, love of the team, love of the game and it's been reborn as from tonight. Unfortunately, over the past few years, it had gone into the doldrums. There was no atmosphere in the Aviva. In the singing section we were trying our best, but there was no atmosphere.

"But tonight you can actually feel it. The excitement is tangible," she said.

Liam Mooney, (69) from Dublin, also gave the new partnership his blessing. "They look terrific," he said.

Vinnie Coonan (36), from Waterford, said: "We wanted to go to the match to show our support from day one. That was the main reason we came tonight. I think they will give it their all."

Aidan Mullen (56) from Swords; John Dowling (51) from Sandyford; Brian Maguire (51) from Bray; Kieran Feighoney from Watford; and Malachy Gormley (70) from Letterkenny attend all the away games together, and are boarding a plane for Poland on Monday where Ireland play a match in Poznan on Tuesday.



Brian Maguire described the new pairing of O'Neill and Keane is "exciting, adventurous and we are all hopeful".

Also at the match was Martin McDonagh, from Ballymum (39), with his son Aron (9). Martin said: "We were here to see how Roy Keane and Martin O'Neill's era kicks off."

Orla Duke (36) from Lucan attended the match with her friend Jane Dunne (34) from Kildare.

"We were just saying it's kind of exciting again," she said.

Timmy Cronin (25), who attended the match with his cousin Jonathan Cronin (21), both from Cork, said he was delighted to see Roy Keane back. "I am also a Manchester United fan.

"I have followed Roy Keane all my life. The two of them together should do a good job."

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