Thursday 22 February 2018

Helen Moorhouse: I'm not going to get too excited about Euro 2012, because I know it will only break my heart if I do

Ireland players during squad training ahead of the game against Croatia
Ireland players during squad training ahead of the game against Croatia

I'VE had to turn the radio off. It's getting me too excited – people recounting their memories of Germany '88 and Italia '90. The ghostly echo of Maire Ni Braonain's plaintive 'Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole.....' bringing a nostalgic tear to my eye.

I cannot get excited. It is not allowed. If I do what everyone else is doing – bunt my house, buy some nice crisps, open a beer or order a pizza. If I so much as twitch with an inkling of enthusiasm, we will lose. The stars will re-align themselves, destiny will cock a snook of some sort and the Group of Death will become the Group of Utter Annihilation. Croatia will not only defeat us, but they will eat our flesh and then come for our firstborn.

Sport works like this. If I remain disinterested, we win. If I'm supportive of our efforts then we won't. Thus it was, and thus it always will be. If you need the team you support to score, the horse you're cheering to cross the line first, then please ask me to leave the room. Some of the greatest sporting moments of all time have taken place after I've excused myself to nip to the loo and some of our crushing defeats have happened simply because I've uttered those words of doom; “C'mon Ireland”.

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