Thursday 29 September 2016

Wayne's World: The French police are a nice bunch but they can't field a high ball to save their lives

Published 14/06/2016 | 12:52

Republic of Ireland supporters pose with police officers outside the stadium ahead of the Euro 2016 group E football match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden in Paris on June 13, 2016. / AFP / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
Republic of Ireland supporters pose with police officers outside the stadium ahead of the Euro 2016 group E football match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden in Paris on June 13, 2016. / AFP / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)

THE fallout from the aftermath has taught everyone in Paris one thing about the French police – they may be friendly and thorough but they cannot field a high ball and shake off two markers half as well as any Mayo man.

  • Go To

The journey in to town from the Stade de France was a long one last night with wind taken out of the sails of many by Sweden’s late equaliser.

Ireland’s goal scorer Wes Hoolahan has been labelled “the Irish Messi” by the French sports daily newspaper L’equipe for his stunning display and he was certain to spark a baby boom back home until we conceded.

Baby infants classes in five years time would have been full of Wes and Weslinas but c’est la vie.

Many opted to use the train to get to the city centre after the final whistle.

A rail strike meant there was no direct train back into Paris so every metro station in the city had lost and wandering green army members roaming their platforms looking for a landmark they recognise.

In a city with the Eiffel Tour, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame cathedral you would think that is easy but such sights are hard to make out when you are 50 feet underground.

Luckily the locals are all too willing to oblige. Like our hosts in Poland four years ago, the French have taken on the boys in green as their favourite visiting team.

Police men stop in the street to say hello to anyone wearing the green. Ambulance drivers beep in traffic and offer a wave as we take in the sights. Maybe they recognise some of us from previous nights escapades.

Thousands of fans abandoned the trains at the first stop after the stadium, Gare du Nord, most famous for the Eurostar link to London.

The green army took to the streets outside and located a football. It is amazing how one spherical object can keep a mass entertained so easily. One by one fans took turns launching the ball high in the air across the street over buses, cars and motorbikes with little regards for passers by or the little open air bistros.

Anticipating an angry reaction from the restaurant owners over a possible broken window and disturbed customers the police moved in but inadvertently created a game of piggy in the middle.

More than 10 police officers in all went after the ball. At first one of them, standing tall at 6’3” took the whole thing playfully and laughed as a youngster in a Dublin jersey shimmied left and right a la Bernard Brogan before launching a pass across the street.

Oblivious to the existence of our national codes and prolific GAA ability, it was clear our lads’ skills had been underestimated.

Embarrassed, our policeman dusted himself off and went again but couldn’t rise above Irish lads for the ball. Eventually a colleague got it and took it away to a chorus of boos.

We are here for the soccer but travelling with the GAA.

Online Editors

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport