'It brings tears to my eyes and makes me feel like a very, very proud Irishman' - Robbie Keane's emotional speech
Robbie Keane has thanked the Ireland fans and players and insisted that the journey is only just beginning for this Irish team following their return to Dublin today.
With his international career expected to draw to a close following Euro 2016, Keane addressed the Ireland fans in the Airport and delivered an emotional speech on behalf of the players.
“First of all I appreciate all the fans coming out here today, it’s been an absolute pleasure. On behalf of myself and the players, it has been an incredible journey.
“Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the next stage. I just want to thank the players who have been absolutely magnificent. They gave their heart and soul in this competition. I couldn’t ask for better players to play with.
“You don’t see what goes on behind the scenes. These players are desperate to do proud for their country and they have done that. I am very, very happy as captain of this country to say that because it brings tears to my eyes and makes me feel like a very, very proud Irishman.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart and all the players’ hearts, thanks for supporting us and the journey is only beginning with these young players."
Manager Martin O’Neill echoed Keane’s sentiments by extending his own thank you to the fans, players and backroom team.
“There is some great memories, we just mentioned Robbie’s goal. I just want to say a really great thank you,” said O’Neill.
“The supporters have been sensational and I have to say the players were unbelievable. They have been magnificent, absolutely magnificent.
“And Roy, the backroom staff and the medical staff, it’s a privilege to be involved with them.”
FAI CEO John Delaney added: “There is nothing more emotional and fantastic than when you face the tri-colour abroad and we did that on the playing fields of France and our supporters – the best ambassadors this country will ever have.”
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