Thursday 20 July 2017

Time to get behind Boys in Green, say fans

James McClean, who scored Ireland’s second goal against Slovakia, celebrates with his biggest fan, daughter Allie-Mae (2), at the end of the game. Photo: David Maher, Sportsfile
James McClean, who scored Ireland’s second goal against Slovakia, celebrates with his biggest fan, daughter Allie-Mae (2), at the end of the game. Photo: David Maher, Sportsfile
James McClean celebrates after scoring the second goal for Republic of Ireland against Slovakia. Photo: Reuters

Ryan Nugent

A weekend of patriotism was capped off by a return to the Aviva Stadium for Martin O'Neill's Irish squad.

While on the face of it, a friendly at home to Slovakia in March seems a nothing game, the excitement is building for this summer's European Championships in France.

Irish supporters had their eyes peeled for some of the national side's fringe footballers to take the bull by the horns and impress the O'Neill-Keane combo so they'd be booked on to the plane for the tournament.

Slovakia went one-up early but Shane Long equalised just after 20 minutes with a blistering penalty.

James McClean scored from another spot kick just minutes later.

An action-packed first half concluded with another goal for Slovakia. The score remained 2-2 at full time.

Brian Heffernan (54) and his pal Declan Canty (44) travelled from Galway for the game, having done the same on Friday night for the lacklustre win over Switzerland.

The Republic of Ireland dispatched the Swiss 1-0.

Brian told the Irish Independent that it's time the country got behind the national soccer team.

"Rugby is trendy, but the European Championships are coming up and it's about time that everybody got behind the Boys in Green," Brian said.

"The future is looking good and it's an exciting time to be an Ireland supporter," he added.

Meanwhile, Wicklow contingent, the McGettigan family, were making their debut at the Aviva last night.

Lennon (9) and Tilly (7) took in the match with their dad, Josh and grandfather Joe.

Josh thinks there's a great buzz surrounding the team.

"It's all part of the build up for the Euros and getting a look at some of the fringe players," Josh said.

Irish Independent

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