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Wednesday 14 November 2018

'We have the heart but no composure', say devastated fans

Ireland fans Ann Brennan and Janice Butler
Ireland fans Ann Brennan and Janice Butler
Supporters David Fitzgerald, Declan Doyle, Barry McElhinney and Niall Dunning

Ireland supporters couldn't hide their heartache as they left the Aviva Stadium.

It was a devastating night as fans watched the Danes, led by Christian Eriksen, run riot against the Boys in Green.

Wesley McDonagh (23), from Ennis, Co Clare, said he gave up all hope when Denmark scored their third goal.

"We had so much hope for this match and the build-up to it was incredible," he said.

"I really thought we were going to win, but we knew we were going to be beaten as the second half progressed.

"It was a great atmosphere all the same, but we just didn't get the result."

Gutted

Louise Carroll, who had travelled to the Aviva from Roscommon with her two daughters and partner, said she was gutted by the loss.

"The first half-hour was the best atmosphere ever, but after that it just went downhill," she said.

"We're now out of the World Cup and have to wait another two years for the Euros.

"A whole restructure needs to be done to the team, in my opinion."

She wasn't the only one looking to make some changes in the squad.

Cathal Dermondy, from Kilkenny, said "devastated" didn't even come close to how he felt last night.

"We just don't have the quality of player that we need," he said. "Hoolahan just isn't good enough, and I think people think he's better than he actually is.

"Ireland's problem is that we have the heart but not the composure."

The evening had started off so well with a party atmosphere in the capital.

Dublin was awash with a sea of green, white and orange and red and white as thousands of fans swarmed into the city to show their support.

Those who couldn't secure a ticket for the crunch match crowded into pubs to cheer on the Boys in Green.

A combination of nervous and excited chatter filled the air in Toner's Pub on Baggot Street in the lead-up to the game.

Kevin Leech (24), from Killester, was in Copenhagen for Ireland's disappointing draw, but said before last night's game that win or lose it was vital to support your country.

"The atmosphere is always great during any Ireland game and we'll celebrate regardless," he said.

"I was disappointed that we didn't get an away goal in Copenhagen - it was painful, but at least we got another shot at it.

"We just need to create a few more chances for ourselves, and if we get through you ne ver know how far we'll go."

Ten-year-old Reece Doyle, from Clondalkin, was also cheering on his heroes alongside his dad.

"Everyone in my class was really excited about the match today, but I think I'm definitely one of the biggest supporters in my year," he said.

"McClean is my favourite player because he always does really well. If we get through I would love to go to the World Cup."

Die-hard football fans Ann Brennan and Janice Butler, from Ranelagh, were devastated that they couldn't get tickets for the game.

"We go to all the matches and have been to Copenhagen, Cardiff, Paris and Austria to cheer on the lads," said Janice.

"I'm really gutted that I can't be at the Aviva, but it's still great to be out supporting the team and enjoying the atmosphere.

"If we get through, I'm not sure if I'll go to Russia because they have a very bad reputation with civil rights."

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