Impossible is nothing for the Boys in Green
For years we were forced to listen to the high priests of sport preaching about the sanctity of the "beautiful game". All the while we stoically accepted it was our lot to be the honest journeymen bending the knee at the altar of the hoof-and-hope creed.
Thus, we turned our goals into the footballing equivalent of the medieval Trebuchet, catapulting everything we could from one end of the field to the other willing the walls to fall, that we might sack the citadels of the great footballing nations. And for all our heroics before that now momentous night in Lille, when the forehead of Robbie Brady and the silken touch of Wes Hoolahan produced a spell of national enchantment, we had become used to surviving at subsistence levels on the crumbs of gallant defeats.
Only our memories could be golden. But in a split second a wormhole opened in time; we revisited the promised land first glimpsed by the likes of Ray Houghton and Ronnie Whelan. Despite the fact that fans had to go back to 2002 to find the last time the Boys in Green won a match in a competitive tournament, enthusiasm, emotion and the edge of expectation has never blunted.