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Three cheers for the Irish fans

Ever since the draw for the final stages of the European Championship, which put Ireland in the so-called "Group of Death" with World and European champions Spain, four-time World champions Italy, and Croatia, took place last December, we knew that the Boys in Green would be facing an uphill struggle in this summer's tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

And so it proved to be, with Ireland losing 3-1 to Croatia on Sunday and 4-0 to Spain on Thursday -- a defeat that meant they became the first country to exit the final stages of this year's European Championship.

While the dream may be over, let us not forget the valiant efforts of the Boys in Green -- who made it to the finals of a major championship for the first time in a decade -- and their outstanding fans.

Even as the dream died in Gdansk on Thursday night, the Irish fans still shouted themselves hoarse as they urged on their team.

Thursday's result means that Monday's game against Italy will now be a dead rubber but that won't stop the Irish fans raising the rafters when the Boys in Green come out on to the field on Poznan. Three cheers for the Irish fans.