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Seven steps to Euro 2012 hell

FORGIVE us for raining on Robbie's parade, but Curve Ball feels compelled to warn you all that qualification for next year's European Championship finals is not a Godsend for the Gael but, in actual fact, terrible news. I repeat, terrible!

Only with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight -- ie, when we collectively awake with a thumping hangover, a suspicious itch and a maxed-out credit card early next July -- will we realise the full extent of the appalling vista that was Poland-Ukraine 2012.

Don't believe us? Then consider the following seven-point Euro vision of hell on earth...

1 SONGS FOR IRELAND

Prepare for an onslaught of musical murder, as various chanteurs/chancers put our eardrums under pressure with 'original' anthems, not to mention plagiarised reminders that we're all part of Trappy's army and even though we're not all off to Italy, we're going to the next best place -- Poznan.

2 INFLATABLE SHAMROCKS

Last spotted drifting into South Korean airspace almost 10 years ago, this first cousin of the inflatable banana is about to make a dramatic comeback. Beware these receptacles of hot air -- and more especially their owners.

3 POLITICAL FOOTBALL

Remember when Charlie Haughey won the Tour de France in 1987 and some jumped-up pedal-pusher from Dundrum gate-crashed the podium in Paris? Well, prepare for more of the above if the Republic should dare to qualify from their group. Memo to Enda's mob: leave the cheerleading to John Delaney (pictured below).

4 TAXI DRIVERS

You know the guy who would be Minister for Finance, if only this weren't a banana republic? Well, next June, he will have miraculously transmogrified into the greatest football manager Ireland never had. So, if you really must frequent your local hostelry to watch the match, the limited options are (a) chance cycling home after the proverbial skinful or (b) risk death by taxi rant.

5 THE GROUP OF DEBT

You know what's going to happen next? Fourth seeds Ireland will be drawn alongside Spain, Italy and Greece -- and the contagion effect of playing against equally impoverished nations will ultimately lead to the collapse of the Euro. If it hasn't happened already.

6 PLASTIC PADDY-ITIS

Watch this space as, over the next six months, a motley crew of journeymen pros with cockney accents undergo a Pauline conversion on the road to the passport office in Molesworth Street.

7 STV

Not to be mistaken for STDs, this means Smug Television and is what you can expect from the BBC and their lowest common denominator cousins at ITV, who will regale us with patronising features about the all-singing, all-drinking, half-collapsing Boys in Green, the greatest fans in the wurdild, as they sway their way through eastern Europe.

We can just about take this drivel from RTE, but not from Gary Bleedin' Lineker.


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