Republic of Ireland End of Tournament Awards - Independent.ie's best and worst
Published 27/06/2016 | 10:43
Ireland's brave odyssey at Euro 2016 has come to an end. Relive the best and worst moments of the gallant campaign with out End of Tournament Awards.
It was a knockout game in all but name and Ireland delivered one of their greatest every displays to beat the Azzurri thanks's to Robbie Brady's magical moment.
Ciaran Clark lunged in on Eden Hazard and failed to halt the progress of the mercurial winger, leaving John O'Shea exposed and the Chelsea man found Romelu Lukaku who calmly slotted past Darren Randolph. The low point of the competition but better moments were to come.
How could you not love Shane Long? His level of effort is unparalleled and he summed up Ireland journey brilliantly last night on social media.
James McClean picked the wrong time to air his political views. The Derry winger has got himself into trouble and his Twitter account was swiftly shut down after he aired his views on Brexit.
Player of the tournament
Robbie Brady deserves to be playing Champions League football next season given his performances and if Leicester City have their way, he will be. His goals will never be forgotten.
Most improved player
Another player who deserves a high-profile move to the Premier League is Derby County's Jeff Hendrick. His courage on the ball was match by his ability and has the physicality and skillset to thrive in England's top flight. A massive player in Ireland's future.
Could easily have went for Gianluigi Buffon making an effort to congratulate Roy Keane and Martin O'Neill, Dimitri Payet consoling West Ham team mate or Irish players giving their boots to fans after yesterday's game but David Forde deserves it for the way he conducted himself after he was cut from the squad. Class is permanent.
Quote of the tournament
"I looked happy. You're happy. It's called being happy.. Try it! It's good. I'm not sure what you're supposed to say after a game. Just pleased.Why are you making a big deal of it (hugging O'Neill)? I'm always hugging people. There’s just usually no people around. I hug my dogs, family, friends" - Roy Keane
Best fan moment of the competition
There are so many moments to choose from. The Irish fans lit up France wherever they went and the locals certainly appreciated their efforts. This moments sticks out above the rest... but only just.