Premier League goalkeeper Shay Given hailed his countrymen and women for “taking over London” as he joined them to watch Ireland’s Katie Taylor win a place in the Olympic final.
The Republic of Ireland footballer made the most of a day off training with Aston Villa to make the trip south to the ExCel Arena to see the boxing sensation take another step toward gold.
“It was brilliant,” he said.
“I watched the last bout on TV and it’s just amazing to come here today and see that.
“Luckily I had a day off so I managed to get a ticket. It was fantastic.”
The 36-year-old star shares something in common with Taylor, with the boxing lightweight world champion having also played soccer for the Republic of Ireland.
But the Villa man’s footballing commitments means he will not be able to return to London for the final.
— Shay Given (@No1shaygiven) August 8, 2012
“I am training tomorrow so I’m not going to see it,” he said.
“I’ll watch it on the box but won’t be able to come down.”
Given described the atmosphere inside the ExCel as “class”.
“Irish fans are taking over London for a few hours,” he said.
“They were fantastic, great support.”
As for Taylor, he believes she has what it takes to clinch gold.
“She looks world class, she’s just a natural,” he said.
“Obviously her dad (Peter, who is her trainer) has done an amazing job with her and the dedication I think both of them put in is just fantastic.”