Republic of Ireland: A brave & hardworking nation and winners of our hearts :)

Dedicated to the UEFA Euro 2016 campaign of the Republic of Ireland (including previous participations in various international tournaments).

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An Irish fan celebrates Republic of Ireland’s goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Italy and Republic of Ireland at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 22, 2016 in Lille, France.

Soldiers are we,

whose lives are pledged to Ireland

Some have come,

from a land beyond the wave

Sworn to be free,

No more our ancient Sireland

Shall shelter the despot or the slave,

Tonight, we man the “bearna Baoil”

In Erin’s cause, come woe or weal

‘Mid Cannon’s roar’ and Rifle’s peal,

We’ll chant a soldier’s song

The opening game, versus Sweden. Norwich City playmaker Wes Hoolahan opened the scoring with a neat and daft curling shot from the left edge of the Sweden penalty area thus shocking Sweden to a shock start. the match ended in a 1-1 draw through an unlucky own goal through Ciaran Clark, but nevertheless it showed Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic why he must be more than just a club level swordfish.

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Wes Hoolahan (top right) opens the scoring for the Republic of Ireland in their Group E match against Sweden Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic (left) and Robbie Brady go up for a header during the 1-1 draw at the Stade de France. The tournament was Zlatan’s last in a Swedish shirt; the striker retired after their elimination. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

However, their fortunes were overturned in a 3-0 defeat to Belgium. Axel Witsel, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku were on Belgium’s scoresheet, Thus putting Republic of Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for the round of 16 in serious doubt. Nobody wanted the Boys in Green to bow out badly, but this tournament was full of surprises.

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Shane Long’s the meat in a sandwich tackle byThomas Vermaelen (left) and Toby Alderweireld during Belgium’s 3-0 win over the Republic of Ireland in Bordeaux. Photograph: Ray McManus/Sportsfile via Getty Images

BUT!

Who would have thought they would overcome Italy 1-0. Who would have thought Robbie Brady would score the game winner, many people even called Ireland’s rescue 1199 and told the fire department that Robbie Brady is on fire (meaning he scored Ireland’s late winner against Italy). Wow, the nation was in loads of Celebrations.

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Republic of Ireland supporters celebrate after Robbie Brady’s late winner against Italy seals the final place in the last 16. Photograph: Christopher Lee – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Image

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Shane Duffy of Republic of Ireland celebrates with James McClean of Republic of Ireland at the final whistle during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Italy and Republic of Ireland at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 22, 2016 in Lille, France.

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Stephen Quinn of Ireland celebrates victory after the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Italy and Republic of Ireland at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 22, 2016 in Lille, France. Ireland won the match 1-0. (Photo by Bob Thomas/Popperfoto/Getty Images).

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Lille , France – 22 June 2016; Musician Richy Sheehy, from Carrignavar, Co. Cork, entertains Republic of Ireland supporters after their victory during the UEFA Euro 2016 Group E match between Italy and Republic of Ireland in Lille, France. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Robbie Brady of Republic of Ireland celebrates with teammate James McClean after he scored during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Italy and Republic of Ireland at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 22, 2016 in Lille, France.

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Robbie Brady of Republic of Ireland celebrates after he scored during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Italy and Republic of Ireland at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 22, 2016 in Lille, France.

June 22, 2016 was the famous day Republic of Ireland claimed a famous win over a fancied Italy who were dismantling their opponents in tactical fashion. Republic of Ireland were even congratulated by Italy and their coach Antonio Conte in a show of sportsmanship and respect. Republic of Ireland qualified by virtue of 3 points and 2 goals scored in 3 matches despite conceding 4 goals but their 3 points and 2 goals scored were more than that of Turkey and Albania. Turkey were sadly inconsistent and Albania were unlucky (as it was their first ever European Championship appearance).

At times, some good things come to an end but it doesn’t mean bad things are to start. it means even better things take a start. The Republic of Ireland went in well prepared to take on France and despite Shane Long’s early penalty giving Martin O’Neill’s Boys in Green a much deserved lead, France fought back.

France grabbed a 2-1 win, courtesy of their golden boy Antoine Griezmann scoring two beautiful goals hence earning the adored nickname ‘Grizzou’ (Zinedine Zidane was known as Zizou).

<> at Stade des Lumieres on June 26, 2016 in Lyon, France.

Republic of Ireland assistant coach Roy keane looks on as his nation were defeated 2-1 by France.

 

<> at Stade des Lumieres on June 26, 2016 in Lyon, France.

Robbie Keane, Seamus Coleman and Shane Long of Republic of Ireland show their disappointmen after defeat in the UEFA Euro 2016 match between France and Republic of Ireland at Stade des Lumieres on June 26, 2016 in Lyon, France.

 

 

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President of France Francois Hollande, President of French Football Federation Noel Le Graet, President of French Parliament Claude Bartolone, French Secretary of State for Sports Thierry Braillard, below French Minister of Education Najat Vallaud-Belkacem celebrate the second goal of France during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between France and Republic of Ireland at Stade des Lumieres, Parc Olympique  Lyon on June 26, 2016 in Lyon, France.

 

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France’s Bacary Sagna reacts during their hard-fought 2-1 victory. France would next played Iceland in the quarterfinals. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

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France’s Dmitri Payet & Antoine Greizmann celebrate Griezmann’s 2nd goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between France and Republic of Ireland at Stade des Lumieres on June 26, 2016 in Lyon, France.

Downed and Sent out of the tournament, but nevertheless a respectable finish for the Republic of Ireland and a deserving win for the Les Bleus, The win wasn’t comfortable for France. they did fight back and Republic of Ireland showed and gave them equal challenge but the Irish were tactically beaten by the French. This however, didn’t drown the celebrations of the gentle and well mannered Irish fans who had a lot more to celebrate about after the Euro win.

Republic of Ireland had a respectable round of 16 finish at the UEFA Euro 2016. and what’s even better that it shows the quality of Irish players, who can shine easily and brightly in other leagues of Europe notably the Belgian Jupiler Division, Dutch Eredivisie, German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A, Greek Alpha Ethniki, Turkish Super League, Russian Premier League, French Ligue 1, Spanish Premiera Liga and of course, the Portuguese Super League.

July is coming to an end, I hope the big star names of the Republic of Ireland land good deals in Europe’s top leagues.

All the best ladies & gentlemen, have a good day :).

And, Thanks for reading too :).

Bye 🙂

 

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