herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Will it be third time luc ky in Poznan tonight? The fans still believe

IRELAND are hoping for third time lucky in Poznan tonight as they take on the Italians in our last match of Euro 2012.

With only pride -- and a €2m UEFA bonus for finishing in third place -- to play for, the Irish will hope to go out out with a bang.

And it may not meet with Roy Keane's approval, but the 20,000 fans who have made it this far will make sure to party in Poznan for one last time.

And having touched the hearts of the Polish hosts with their sporting display of the Fields of Athenry against Spain, Ireland can be assured of millions of extra supporters against Italy.

On the streets of Poland there is a widespread acceptance that the Irish fans have brought something to this tournament that no other country could offer.

And last night the city of Poznan was again taken up by emerald shirts, a hoarse chorus of Stand Up For The Boys In Green and even a few Mick Wallace impersonators.

There is still hope among the up to 30,000 fans that Giovanni Trapattoni's team can deliver a display tonight.

Dave O'Hara from Tallaght told the Herald that while we were "awful" against Spain the fans "managed to leave with a smile on our faces after the last 10 minutes".

Loyal fan Caroline Ginty from Longford added: "I think we might sneak a 1-0 win. The football has been atrocious but it's been amazing anyway.

"I think no matter what the result, we know that we are beaten, and we will sing our hearts out."

And the fans in Poznan had very little time for ex Irish captain Roy Keane who has slated the 'sing song attitude'.

"Roy Keane is just rent-a-quote at this stage. What does he expect us to do, boo the team off? That's how good we are and if they play their best then that's fair enough. We knew what we getting when we signed Trapattoni so he's not going to change now," said Gary Kelly from Sligo.

"We are just here for the fun at this stage. Hopefully we will get a result and send the Italians home."

Kieran Coffey from Galway was still hopeful of a 2-0 victory for the Irish. "We're due a win. We've never lost every game in a big tournament," he said.

But Dean Brennan from Kimmagh was a little more reserved: "We'd just like to see a good performance. They need to put some pride back in the jersey.

"The fans were amazing at the Spain game and I'd like to think that they will be the same. We are celebrities out here now. We'd be happy to see a goal."

Bryan O'Brien from Cork said: "I'm thinking 3-1 to Italy. But it's good fun. My favourite chant has been Let's Pretend We Scored A Goal.

"The Spanish had no idea what was going on. If we get a goal I'll be happy."

And Blanchardstown native Siobhan Kelleher, who travelled from Copenhagen for the games while her Danish boyfriend went to the Ukraine, was more worried about her lost flag than the fact her accommodation in Poznan didn't exist when she got here.

"We lost our flag in Gdansk and we're desperate to get it back in time for kick-off," she said, adding: "I booked into a hotel in Poznan but when I got here it didn't exist. I hope the team can give the fans something to cheer about."

But perhaps most hopeful of the fans last night was Tadgh O'Donovan who laughed: "Sean St Ledger will eat Mario Balotelli without salt."

hnews@herald.ie

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