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Drinks are on me! FAI boss Delaney's €2k gift to the fans

FAI boss John Delaney got the party under way in Talinn last night when he dropped €2,000 behind a bar for jubilant Irish fans.

Delaney's generosity will come as no surprise -- Irish soccer is in for an €8m bonanza after last night's phenomenal win over Estonia.

Giovanni Trapattoni (72) is also now certain to have his €1.7m a year contract extended so he can lead the Irish team to Euro 2012.

Irish fans in Tallinn were still celebrating this morning. Most of the estimated 3,500 who travelled to eastern Europe didn't make it to bed at all last night.

In one of the greatest nights in Irish soccer history, captain Robbie Keane scored twice as his side all but secured their place at next year's European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.

Dublin pubs and clubs were today preparing for a bumper night on Tuesday as the country celebrates reaching the first major tournament since the World Cup in 2002. The Aviva Stadium will have a sell-out crowd of 50,000 people while a major campaign is under way to ensure that Dublin goes green in the build-up to game.

But the party had already begun last night when FAI boss John Delaney delighted Irish supporters by dropping €2,000 behind a Tallinn bar so they could drink for free.

Fans were today toasting the football CEO's generous donation to their weekend partying.


Delaney bowed before the Green Army on the pitch in Tallinn last night to acknowledge the amazing support provided in Estonia over the past 48 hours. And he performed his now customary post-match "tie into the crowd" celebration.

And the Herald can reveal that even before kick-off, Delaney was proving himself generous around the fans.

He gave away several tickets in spontaneous pub raffles in Tallinn and bought a massive €2,000 round of drinks -- from his own pocket.

Word of the party at a downtown Tallinn bar spread quickly, with dozens of thirsty Irish fans finding their way to a free pint. When contacted by the Herald today, Mr Delaney wasn't keen to admit exactly how much he splurged on booze -- but said he was just delighted to see so many fans having a good time.

"I just bought some drinks to personally thank the fans for travelling in tough economic times," he told the Herald.

One of those who got in the act was Dubliner Fergal Burke, who received a text message about the party.

"I was just drinking in a different pub and my friend was like 'get over here quickly, John Delaney is buying drinks for everyone'.

"So we went down and sure enough there was a free bar for the supporters. John was sitting up at the bar, having the craic and loving all the attention. It was a great night."

It's not the first time the FAI's boss has splashed the cash on fans --He set a precedent last year when Ireland took on Slovakia away.