Sunday 18 March 2018

Heaven knows we're miserable now – late strike sinks Irish spirits

Robbie Keane with cousin Morrissey before the game at the Aviva
Robbie Keane with cousin Morrissey before the game at the Aviva

Fiach Kelly and Richie Taylor

THE heart went Irish to match the blood. It's in the family after all.

Former The Smiths singer Morrissey, recently revealed as a cousin of Ireland's Robbie Keane, seems to have chosen a rather odd place to recuperate from an illness that's taken him away from touring.

Lansdowne Road on the evening of a crucial World Cup qualifier against Austria is not what many doctors would order for a bit of R'N'R.

Especially since Morrissey was changing from 'Irish Blood, English Heart' to 'Irish Blood, Irish Heart' for the night.

And also because, given the importance of the match for Ireland, Morrissey wouldn't have the sunniest or, eh, most optimistic of dispositions.

We presume, given his delicate condition, there were no discrete inquiries from the FAI to have Moz perform the national anthem. Though all past blunders by the Abbottstown suits would have been forgiven if they had pulled that one off.

Instead, the honours went to a pipe band and Morrissey (53) was left in peace to enjoy his holiday in the capital, which he took this week after cancelling his North American tour.

Keane's grandfather is a cousin to Morrissey's father, and the Mancunian came to Dublin to visit his family.

And he also dropped into L'Ecrivain on Baggot Street, his favourite restaurant in the capital, on Monday night.

"He always comes into us when he's in town, which is usually several times a year," co-owner Sallyanne Clarke said.

"He looked great and seemed to be recovering well from his illnesses. He told me that he was 'on the mend' and 'just chilling' – but that he doesn't know when he will be gigging again. I thought he looked absolutely wonderful, the restaurant was packed and everybody there seemed to recognise him."

A well-known vegetarian, Morrissey is fond of L'Ecrivain's Guinness and treacle bread, but probably would have had to scour around the Aviva last night to find food that suits his diet. Sloppy burgers and hot dogs would probably not sit well with someone who sees meat as murder.

Meanwhile, Irish fans on the way into the game wouldn't have minded their team dishing out a murdering to the Austrians.


"It'll be 2-1 Ireland," said Tony Byrne from Fortlawn in Dublin.

William Deegan, from Tallaght, agreed. "2-1 Ireland," he said. "I just think after that performance against Sweden, they gelled together again and will do it tonight."

Their optimism was tested early in the first half when Austria went one up and Friday's performance against Sweden began to fade.

Still you gotta be hopeful, even against all the odds, and that paid off when Jonathan Walters struck home a peno to level the game and then made it 2-1 to Ireland.

But after it looked for so long that Ireland were coasting to victory, Austria stunned the crowd with an equaliser in the third minute of extra time.

Irish Independent

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