Postpone that chat with the credit union, cancel the milk, pass on the regards to the lads at work. We may be here a while yet.
The mass swarm in green will move south to face hosts France in Lyon on Sunday after another delicious Hall of Fame moment for Irish soccer in Lille last night. Robbie Brady, once described by Alex Ferguson as “made of the right stuff”, took the Republic of Ireland forward to the Euro 2016 Round of 16 with a career-defining goal against Italy.
Houghton in Stuttgart. Houghton in New York. Long at Lansdowne. You know the genre.
Martin O’Neill and his merry men were five minutes away from a frustrating retreat from the tournament, embittered by recriminations over standout penalty claims, when Wes Hoolahan clipped an inviting cross into Brady’s path. The rest is already history, Brady in floods of tears with his family in the lower rungs of the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille.
The outrageous change in fortune in those few minutes also contrived to tee up a Wales-Northern Ireland last 16 game, ensuring all four home nations have progressed to the knockout stages in France.
Ireland’s ability to write romance has nothing on the supporters’ ability to excavate tickets for these sellouts — 50,000 packed the stadium in Lille, and though the closed roof created an acoustic experience like no other, it felt like the greater reason for the din was the green ring around the playing area.
“I’m lost for words. This was form everyone, anyone who’s been part of the journey,” an emotional Robbie Brady said afterwards.
The race to Lyon has forced more than the green army to change tack.
The GAA’s Leinster Council has moved its football championship semi-finals on Sunday to accommodate the 2pm kick off in France.
The Westmeath-Kildare game will now throw in at 4.15pm, the Dublin-Meath clash at 6.15pm.
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