Go dutch and dinner could be your treat
I often wonder how many families have kept the glass milk bottles issued by Premier Dairies to celebrate the capital's 1,000th birthday in 1988. Or the millennium 50 pence coins -- anyone remember those? During that year, the country went bananas issuing commemorative collectables and my grandfather always told me to keep them safe as they "would be worth a mint" by the time I was 30.
As an eight-year-old, I believed every word he said (I think he believed it himself), but recently, I checked how much those milk bottles were selling for online and was gutted to see that the most you'd get for one now is a little more than a tenner.
The other big event that year was the European Championships and, even though I was quite young, I can easily recall how massive an occasion it was -- being the first time Ireland had qualified for a major tournament. My father bought me a 'Jack's Army' cap and I hardly took it off all summer. Maybe it's from watching 'Reeling In The Years,' but I've a crystal-clear recollection of Ireland beating England and the whole nation going into party mode.
A draw with the Soviets and the loss to the Netherlands meant we didn't go further, but it was a taste of things to come with Italia '90 just around the corner.
Both my grandfather and father are no longer with us, but the 'Jack's Army' cap still survives and I've proudly hung it up over the TV in time for tomorrow as a reminder of those great times.
Nostalgia aside, we will have a tough task in getting out of the group and at 4/1, we are the outsiders of the four to make the quarter-finals.
Still, stranger things have happened, and a result against Croatia would give a fantastic boost to the campaign. I don't want to look too far ahead though, and I'm going to take each match and betting market as it comes.
Tomorrow night looks tricky, but a punt on both teams to score could be worth a shot and is available at 6/5.
They may have beaten us in '88 but, as regards the overall winner, there could be money to be made by backing the Netherlands at 13/2.
Some readers may remember me tipping them for the 2010 World Cup for which they reached the final, although they found it hard to keep their heads in the last game and the ref flashed his cards a record number of times for a final. If they show a bit more discipline in this tournament, they could go all the way.
In the racing, there's a distinct lack of quality contests on offer today, but the John Gosden- trained Starboard has claims in the Free Betting With Freebets.co.uk Conditions Stakes at Doncaster (4.20), priced around 11/8.
AT 25/1 and higher, Las Verglas Star is a touch too big for the John Halewood Memorial Handicap at Chester (3.10). While he failed to make an impact in both his races this season, he was a decent handicapper last term winning two races. He's dropped a couple of pounds in the weights and is expected to show improvement this afternoon.
7.00 Windsor: Bunce
3.10 Chester: Las Verglas Star (e/w)
3.50 Worcester: Listen And Learn
4.20 Doncaster: Starboard
Ireland v Croatia: Both teams to score
Euro 2012: Netherlands to win
Last Week's winners
Pastoral Player: Won at 3/1
St Nicholas Abbey: Won at 8/11
Desert Law (e/w): Placed at 11/1
Camelot: Won at 8/13