We were counting down the minutes to one of Irish football’s most memorable results in recent times. Could we hold out for a credible 0-0 draw against the world champions?
One long punt up the park from Darren Randolph to the lively Shane Long would throw that dream right out the window – for victory we were set.
Long’s sublime, world-class finish sparked wild scenes of celebration, tears of joy and the mass hugging of randomers – scenes not witnessed in Dublin since that poignant Saturday afternoon in 2001 when Jason McAteer smashed Dutch hearts with a finish to match Long’s.
It was a throwback to the heady days of the old Lansdowne Road which are gone for far too long now. Another moment to reflect on in years to come and feel damn proud to say: “I was there.”
For all the cynical snipes and condescending garbage Ireland fans have to put up with for supporting the Boys In Green through thick and thin, it’s moments like the 70th minute against Germany on Thursday, October 8, that justify every second.
We asked our forum users to mention some of the moments that made them proud to be an Ireland fan. Here are some of their answers. Forum users’ names are at the end of each moment.
To have your say, see our forum here
A is for…ALAN McLOUGHLIN GOAL V NORTHERN IRELAND
My proudest moment was when McLoughlin scored in Belfast to send us through to USA 94. I was too young for Italia 90 but had been watching the videos from it from about 92 and absolutely loved it, the theme tune, the fans interviews, footage of training.
Then onto beating the Italians in 94 who had broken our hearts in 90. I remember watching it in Ibiza on holiday with the parents. Remember a few Spanish guys congratulating us and remember feeling about 10 foot tall and genuinely believed we could win the World Cup.
B IS FOR…BARI AND DRAWING WITH WORLD CHAMPIONS ITALY
When we sit down over a beer in the latter stages of our lives and reflect on great moments supporting the Boys In Green, surely Bari will come up. An endearing, quaint town that gave us so many memories, including Robbie Keane’s last-gasp goal against then world champions Italy.
C is for…CON MARTIN AND BEATING ENGLAND IN 1949
My Granda passed away during the week and at the funeral my Dad told a tale of him supporting Ireland as a 23 year old.
My Granda told me the same story recently enough and he was able to recite the whole Ireland team with the club teams they played for and talked me through the goals we scored.
The match was England away in Goodison in 1949. We were complete underdogs with a hiding
expected. England had never lost at home as far as I know. Goals from Con Martin and Peter Farrell gave us a 2-0 win.
On the way back to the boat my Granda was asked: “Oi Paddy, what score was the game.”
“2-0,” he replied.
“We only beat you 2-0? Bloody hell.”
“No, we beat you.” A very proud memory for him.
(THE BOY Z)
D IS FOR…DUNNE AND THAT PERFORMANCE V RUSSIA
Despite being all over the world following the Irish team including World Cups, post game piss up after Germany game in Chiba and Euros and home matches etc, the moment that made me most proud was watching the game away to Russia in 2011 when Richard Dunne was at his best.
I wasn’t even at the game but sitting in my living room whilst feeding/holding my new born son.
As i said in another post, I wanted to explain to him and show him, even though he didn’t know what was going on, why his dad goes all over the world supporting the Irish team and what it was all about and why it matters. I wanted him to see the passion and dedication of the fans, the spirit of the players. First-time father. Two of us crying like babies after it. A magical moment
E IS FOR…EURO 88
The start of the jolly Green Army from 1988 remains a massive memory for how we utterly charmed the Germans. I’ll scan and post the letter that appeared in the Indo from the German owners of The Dubliner Pub in Cologne from after the tournament.
That paved the way in my opinion for how Irish fans have been welcomed for away trips ever since (apart from a couple of away venue exceptions such as Moscow and Bratislava and one or two more).
Euro 88 lit the touchpaper and Irish fans have been setting cities alight ever since in my opinion.
Long may that continue as I know it will.
For me our presence and performances at Euro 88 is what stands out. There have been other moments no doubt but that summer was the best closely followed by Italia 90.
I was living and working in London at the time and was only there six months before the Euros. There was anti Irish sentiment and ignorance even among decent English people. The IRA were prominent in the news and Paddy was getting the wrong end of the stick.
Then Houghton put the ball in the net and the rank outsiders beat the mighty England 1-0 and all of a sudden the Irish could play football, something that seemed to go under the radar of a lot of people across the water.
That victory and subsequent performances against the Russians and Dutch put us firmly on the map and now we (the Irish in England) had something to stand tall about. Jaysus we were even getting praised by the English.
I stood 10 feet tall heading into work the Monday after the England game, a very proud Irishman and that would continue right up to Italia 90 where we again confounded the critics and battled with the ‘forces’ of European football.
So thanks to Big Jack and the lads for making a nation’s emigrant sons very proud to be Irish and not afraid to express that. Great memories that made living away from home that bit easier.