Monday 24 July 2017

Green Army keeping Coleman in thoughts as Icelandic thunder wins out at the Aviva

Supporters Jack (18) and Corey Walsh (12) and Daniel Young (17), from Kilkenny. Photo: Cody Glenn
Supporters Jack (18) and Corey Walsh (12) and Daniel Young (17), from Kilkenny. Photo: Cody Glenn

Ryan Nugent

Who's your favourite player? Without hesitation, most of the children and the adults said our captain from Donegal, Seamus Coleman.

So, as the sun beamed down on the Aviva Stadium last night, there was a tinge of disappointment in the air that the Killybegs man wouldn't feature, and won't for the foreseeable future after a horror challenge in the Wales match ended his season.

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill said: "Seamus Coleman is doing much better today. I saw him earlier. He's in better spirits and has his family around him. It's very positive. He's due to be released from hospital tomorrow. I believe the President [Michael D Higgins] visited him today."

Coleman is facing months out after undergoing an operation on a broken tibia and fibula.

But there was still a much anticipated Viking clap from the Icelandic supporters and the return of Robbie Brady to whet the appetite of Irish supporters.

A friendly game played out without most of the regular cast did not put a stop to those fans travelling from afar. Iceland edged the scrappy game but there was a healthy crowd in Dublin 4 to roar on the Boys in Green.

Samantha McEntee with sons Ciaran (8) and Connor (11) and their cousin Robyn Winston (8), from Navan, Co Meath. Photo: Matt Browne
Samantha McEntee with sons Ciaran (8) and Connor (11) and their cousin Robyn Winston (8), from Navan, Co Meath. Photo: Matt Browne

Read more: The trumpet returned to the Aviva Stadium tonight... and fans weren't happy

The good weather meant they were certainly more colourfully dressed for the occasion than the heavy coats of winter.

Sligo woman Joanne Stenson (39) had seen Coleman play for her hometown club before his move to England.

"We won four tickets, we're football coaches locally," Ms Stenson said. "We're a bit disappointed that we won't get to see Seamus, but we'll still make the most of it."

Janet Guilfoyle and Joanne Stenson, from Sligo. Photo: Arthur Carron
Janet Guilfoyle and Joanne Stenson, from Sligo. Photo: Arthur Carron

Meanwhile, Dubliner Paul O'Connor has been trying to convert his Westmeath daughters, Sophie (10) and Caitlin (14), to soccer over GAA - starting with last night in Dublin 4.

"We go to all the matches if we can. I'm trying to convince Sophie to be soccer-mad instead of the GAA," he said.

Eddie Comerford, from Tallaght, took his grandson Dylan (9) to the game, but doesn't expect him to be in the stands for long.

"He's going to be playing for Ireland in the future, or so he keeps telling me," Mr Comerford said.

Dylan was also hoping to see Coleman marauding up and down the right side. "It was disastrous [the tackle on Coleman]," Mr Comerford said.

Paul O’Connor and daughters Sophie (10) and Caitlin (14). Photo: Arthur Carron
Paul O’Connor and daughters Sophie (10) and Caitlin (14). Photo: Arthur Carron

Irish Independent

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