Monday 22 January 2018

It’s a Long way home for the Germans as Shane does job for Boys in Green

Shane Long celebrates with team mates after scoring the first goal for Republic of Ireland
Shane Long celebrates with team mates after scoring the first goal for Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland fan before the match
Ireland fan John McDonnell (6) from Clare with German fans Martin Sommer, Carsten Gerlach and Guido Schmit
Adam Cullen

Adam Cullen

Spirits were high and banter flowed as Irish and German fans crowded into Dublin's Aviva Stadium last night.

"We really need this," a Bavarian dressed as Gerd Muller told the Irish Independent.

He added: "We have to make up for Volkswagen."

But he hadn't reckoned on Shane Long.

A roar of 'Ole Ole' erupted from the stands and Tricolours were waved with ferocity as Long scored the magnificent winning goal, taking his chance as well as Gerd Muller ever did.

Read more: Video: 'The 100th long ball was one too many' - Joachim Low's rant prompts epic Martin O'Neill riposte

It was in stark contrast to the last time Ireland took on world champions Germany in the Aviva three years ago.

Back then Ireland - and our legion of devoted fans - were left humiliated with a 6-1 defeat.

But thankfully, history didn't repeat itself. In fact, Irish fans arrived at the stadium with a underlying sense of confidence.

"I think we can do it," Debbie McGee (29) from Lucan said as she made her way through the turnstiles.

"I know they are the world champions but that means nothing.

"If the lads keep their wits about them, they can do it."

Read more: 'Dear Football god, never again have a tournament without Ireland' – Germans pay homage to Irish supporters

2FM broadcaster Nicky Byrne arrived with his twin sons Jay and Rocco by his side.

"It's a tough challenge," Cathal Mansfield, from Castlecomer Co Kilkenny, said before kick-off.

"If we can hold on and finish with a draw, it will be great."

But the Irish squad did much, much better than that. With the final whistle, Irish fans leaped into the air as Germans shook their heads in disbelief.

"It's the stuff of dreams," one ecstatic fan yelled. "We couldn't have asked for more. Shane Long will go down in history."

Despite the fierce competition on the pitch, there were no sore losers in the stands, with German supporters praising the Irish fans' gusto.

"Ireland is great, your support is great," Thilo Kittel from Ulm said. "We don't normally go to away matches but we had to come to Dublin.

"We are staying for five days and no doubt we will be shouting for Ireland now."

Another German fan admitted he had been sympathetic to Ireland ever since "the Thierry Henry incident".

"You deserved a place, not to mention you have the second best fans in the world."

Irish Independent

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