Ireland's quest for Euro glory begins
THE country might be getting a little giddy with hopes of a return to its footballing glory days, but Giovanni Trapattoni and his Republic of Ireland squad maintained a low profile yesterday as they set off on their Euro 2012 odyssey, writes Kevin Keane.
After Saturday's encouraging performance against Bosnia-Herzegovina, which resulted in a 1-0 win for the Irish squad thanks to a 78th- minute header from Shane Long, spirits were high.
The team slipped quietly through the VIP area of Dublin Airport and on to an early morning flight to Italy.
Players, medical personnel and backroom staff boarded the small aircraft which, by lunchtime, had landed in Tuscany.
There was no room for wives and girlfriends, however, and the players will have to wait until they get to Poland before they can be reunited with their loved ones.
Between now and then, Trapattoni's men have a gruelling week of training to complete near the small town of Montecatini.
Following that, the squad flies north to Budapest where the Republic of Ireland will play Hungary next Monday in a friendly before heading to their base in Poland.
They play their opening Euro 2012 match against Croatia in Poznan on Sunday, June 10.