CLOSE your eyes and it could have been Poland last June, but without the sun and the cheap beer.
Dublin's Aviva Stadium was awash last night with thousands of the "new Irish" who outnumbered the Irish.
Ostensibly a home game for Ireland, the Polish fans milling around the streets before and after begged to differ.
From Kerry and Donegal they came, and there was a group of 100 from Sligo town alone.
Those attending the game said the Poles outnumbered the Irish fans not only in attendance but in decibels too.
One garda on duty at the stadium said the Polish supporters appeared to outnumber the Green Army four-to-one.
While the teams didn't meet on the pitch last summer, their supporters were already well acquainted from their get-togethers in the squares and bars of Poznan and Gdansk.
For Elwira Wrona, who was with her fiance Dawid Mazurek and a group of friends, the final score didn't matter.
"No matter who wins, we're going to have a good time," she said on her way into the ground.
"We're big supporters of the Polish team, but we also support Ireland," added the creche worker, who has been living in Sligo for eight years.
Meanwhile, it was a case of love across the divide for Ewelina Palacz and her Irish boyfriend Keith Ramsey, with each sporting a wig in their home country's colours.
"Two-two would be nice," said Ewelina, who has been living in Ireland for the past seven years.
"You're sitting on the fence!" teased Keith.
A long-time football fan, catering supervisor Ewelina said it felt like a home game for the tens of thousands of Poles who now call Ireland home.
"We got the DART in from Malahide where we live and it was 90pc Polish fans, 10pc Irish," she said. "There are a lot of Polish out tonight. There's a great atmosphere about the city.
"I was here in Dublin for the European Championships. I didn't go home, so I was supporting both teams."
Peter Beyer, who has been living in Tralee for the past seven years, travelled up to Dublin with a large group of friends. A full-time student, he was planning to hit the road back to Kerry as soon as the final whistle blew.
"I have college in the morning," he said. "But I couldn't miss the match.
"We have come up to Dublin for the fun. Whatever the score is going to be, we're going to be happy – although if we lose, maybe not so much."
Ireland won last night's match 2-0, with goals from Ciaran Clark and Wes Hoolahan.
full report: See Sport Pages 62-63