Kindness from band of brothers -- and Green Army parties on
PRIOR to the plane home, the Irish team finally started to play some football -- or at least until they gifted Italy a goal with what RTE commentator Ronnie Whelan called "stupid little mistakes".
Back in the studio, Eamon Dunphy, who admired the team's new-found commitment, concurred that we were "killed by two mistakes"; while John Giles bemoaned the fact that it was "looking good" until it "fell apart". Not so good, then.
Earlier, on Radio 1's 'Drivetime', Kenny Cunningham felt that watching the Irish team against superior international opposition can be a "tough slog" and not "easy on the eye".
That's certainly been the case in this tournament, though it's been no easier to watch the Irish fans as they've opted to celebrate ineptitude and failure rather than slink home early and beg for mercy from their bank managers, credit union officials, long-suffering spouses and soon-to-be-starving children.
However, Eamon and his RTE band of brothers haven't seen it that way and the fact that over on ITV Roy Keane had spoken witheringly of delusional Irish supporters only seemed to confirm Eamon in his dogged loyalty to the travelling Green Army.
"We've never had a time like it in our lives," a middle-aged fan in Poznan declared on RTE's 'Six-One' news.
Good for him, of course, but the way Eamon's been analysing it, it's been good for the country, too, as millions of foreigners fall under the intoxicating spell of mindless Irish optimism, though that's not how Eamon put it.
But if himself, John Giles and Liam Brady had nothing but good to say about the Irish fans, throughout the tournament they had little bad to say about the Irish players.
That can probably be put down to a basic kindness, stemming from a bleak recognition that the team was simply out of its league.