Tuesday 27 June 2017

Video: The party has started as 100,000 French and Irish fans invade Lyon for crunch clash

Irish and French fans enjoying the build up in Lyon ahead of Ireland's Euro 2016 clash with France.
Pic:Mark Condren
26.6.2016
Irish and French fans enjoying the build up in Lyon ahead of Ireland's Euro 2016 clash with France. Pic:Mark Condren 26.6.2016
Irish and French fans enjoying the build up in Lyon ahead of Ireland's Euro 2016 clash with France. Pic:Mark Condren 26.6.2016
fans of Ireland during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E group stage match between Italy v Ireland at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on june 22, 2016 in Lille, France.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

THE party has kicked-off in France as an estimated 100,000 Irish and French fans sang and dance together before today's crunch Euro 2016 clash in Lyon.

While 60,000 fans will attend the Euro 16 last sixteen clash in Lyon's brand new Stade Olympique Lyonnaise, a further 40,000 fans will watch the match in the city's fan-zone and the pubs of Vieux Lyon.

From 10am, Irish and French fans sang arm-in-arm around around Place National while amused Lyon police looked on.

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Irish and French fans enjoying the build up in Lyon ahead of Ireland's Euro 2016 clash with France. Pic:Mark Condren 26.6.2016

The good-natured rapport between Irish and French fans has provided the last sixteen clash with arguably the best atmosphere of the Euro 2016 tournament so far.

Video: Football-mad pilot bringing Irish fans to Lyon starts the party with legendary pre-flight speech 

"It's amazing in Lyon city centre," Clodagh Finnegan from Navan, Co Meath said.

Irish fans who started singing were immediately joined by laughing French fans.

Fans of Les Bleus responded to Irish football chants of 'Stand Up for the Boys in Green' and 'Shane Long's On Fire' with their own songs including 'Thierry Henry' and 'Merci Irlande'.

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Some French fans even began teaching their Irish rivals the 'LE Marseillaise'.

"There is wonderful feeling between the Irish and French fans," French supporter Celine Liaudat said as she linked arms with Irish students Aine Dowling from Carlow, Catherine Mackle from Monaghan and Alice Goode from Galway.

Read more: 'A national hero of Ireland' - Fan gives away four match tickets to the big game for free 

The Irish trio, all DCU students based in France, were joined by their friend Clodagh for the Lyon match.

"We don't have tickets but the craic in the fan zone will be great," Clodagh said.

 

Many Irish fans have described the atmosphere on Lyon as ranking alongside Paris as the best of Euro 2016 so far.

"The French have been brilliant. Some of them have even been singing 'Allez Les Verts' to us," John Smith from Clondalkin in Dublin said.

"If we do win, this whole city will go mental."

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