Saturday 24 September 2016

Ireland legend 'gives it a lash' in sing-song all across the city

Wayne O'Connor and Ryan Nugent

Published 28/05/2016 | 02:30

Fans on the open-top bus with former international John Aldridge Photo: Damien Eagers
Fans on the open-top bus with former international John Aldridge Photo: Damien Eagers
James and Abbie Clancy (11) from Ballinagarry, Limerick Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / Sportsfile
A young fan shouts on the Ireland team at the friendly against Holland Photo: Sam Barnes / Sportsfile

While Manchester United's new manager dominated sporting headlines and the Boss was taking over Croke Park, Ireland fans were turning out in their droves to wish the team well ahead of Euro 2016.

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Martin O'Neill's side drew 1-1 with the Netherlands last night in their final match in Dublin. They will now head off to an intense training camp in Cork before making their way to the tournament in France.

The match provided the Ireland boss with an opportunity to test out the players he wants on the plane come June 8.

Like their side, the Irish fans took their time to settle, with many still coming in after the game had got under way.

Heaving traffic in the city centre made the journey trickier as Irish and Dutch supporters mingled with Bruce Springsteen fans.

Some 70,000 Ireland supporters will head to France in the coming weeks for the European Championships - and anyone doubting whether they can replicate the raucous noise of Euro 2012 can rest assured.

A group of 30 or so lucky fans stomped, sang and joked with Ireland legend John Aldridge, as they relived memories of past tournaments.

'Aldo' expects the support for the Boys in Green in France to be "second to none" after getting a taste of what was to come last night.

And beforehand, the fan bus, courtesy of Lifestyle Sports, took in Stephen's Green and Merrion Square, before stopping at Lansdowne Road for supporters to get a quick scoop.

"It was good fun, I really enjoyed it. It was nice to go around the route, to see the craic of the fans and the reaction of the people on the streets. It was different," Aldridge said.

"This is the start of the buzz," he shouted, as a noisy group tried to drown everyone out with chants of 'Olé, olé, olé'.

Sandra Walsh (32), from Mayo, led the supporters' bus through a rendition of 'You'll Never Beat the Irish' as she geared up for her trip to France to follow the team.

"We've had hard times, but the Euros will give us a lift."

Irish Independent

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