Saturday 1 October 2016

'Disappointed but proud...' - Heartbroken Irish fans in Lyon sum up brave performance from the Boys in Green

Cathal McMahon

Published 26/06/2016 | 18:04

Irish fans are "disappointed" but "proud" after our heartbreaking defeat to France in Euro 2016.

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After taking an early lead through a Robbie Brady penalty and holding it for almost 60 minutes the Boys in Green were crushed by a rampaging French attack.

Around 10,000 Irish fans were in the new 60,000 seater stadium but they matched and, at times, out sang the massive home support.

Anne Marie McDermott (33) from Sligo admitted that she was already making plans for a quarter final trip after Brady's goal.

Annemarie McDermott and Grainne McDonnell
Annemarie McDermott and Grainne McDonnell

"I had my contingency plan of how I was going to get off work next week.

"When we went for so long without conceding a goal I thought it was going to be our day.

John Harpur, Rory Lee and Sean McCarthy
John Harpur, Rory Lee and Sean McCarthy

"We are disappointed. They played well, they did themselves proud.

"It was very emotional, a little bit depressing now. It's heartbreaking for everybody," she added.

Her pal Grainne McDonnell was losing her voice from the cheering: "The fans were amazing. Everybody should be so proud of themselves."

John Harpur (35), from Co Wexford, said he was "really disappointed" with the result.

Mansour Mbaye (centre)
Mansour Mbaye (centre)

"We played really well first half. Started the way we finished against Italy," he said.

"We deserved to be more than one up. France weren't in great shape.

Barry Moriarty, his wife Lori and their daughter Ellidh
Barry Moriarty, his wife Lori and their daughter Ellidh

"We went asleep for about ten minutes in the second half, that cost us."

John travelled to France with Roscommon man Rory Lee (40) and six other pals.

There was initially a group of 18 but tragedy struck when the sister of one of the travelling group died in a road crash in Co Meath.

"It was just a rollercoaster of emotions, the whole thing," John told Independent.ie.

"Around eight of the lads went home for the funeral but thankfully some of them came out for this game today. That was nice.

"Her brother couldn't come out, it was just too soon."

Barry Moriarty (35) watched the game with his wife Lori (33) and their one-year-old daughter Ellidh.

"We had a good first half. There was a couple of shambles of mistakes for the goals and the red card. It just fell to pieces in ten minutes."

The family have been travelling around for the last two weeks but this was the first one that they managed to get tickets for.

"The dream is over for this year. The good thing is he's got a good squad there and he can go again. There's not too many that are finished."

Meanwhile, French fans were understandably overjoyed.

Mansour Mbaye (37) was waving a French flag but singing 'Come on you boys in Green'.

"France were the deserving winners, for sure.

"Ireland were not so bad but they decide to keep the score at 1-0 which was not so good."

He added: "The Irish fans were the best."

Homecoming

A TD has called for a heroes welcome for the Irish team after their heroic display at Euro 2016.

Ireland came agonisingly close to securing an historic quarter final place in the tournament.

Now Fine Gael TD for Dublin North West, Noel Rock has today called on Dublin City Council to hold a civic reception for the team.

"This has been a great tournament for our boys and I was delighted to attend a few of the games and cheer them on.

"They have come out of a difficult group and surprised everyone with their heart and desire," he said.

"To play against the hosts France and play so well is a real accomplishment and I am delighted that local talent from my own constituency - Jeff Hendrick and Robbie

Brady (St.Kevins) and Wes Hoolahan (Ex-Shelbourne) have contributed hugely to this campaign.

"I hope they and the rest of this terrific squad will be given a warm welcome home from such a great tournament," he concluded.

There was no homecoming for the defeated Irish squad after Euro 2012 but it is highly expected that there will be an event upon their arrival back in Ireland this week.

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