President urges Irish to keep singing

The President says keep on singing, but the Taoiseach is a bit more circumspect, admitting Trap’s charges now have a mountain to climb.

With the world and its mother offering their own take on Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Croatia, an upbeat Michael D Higgins urged supporters to once again find their voices for Thursday’s do or die clash with Spain.

Meeting fans in the old market square in Poznan, the President said he enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere of the 30,000-strong green army.

“The singing was great before, and even better then after,” he said.

“I just want to walk around and meet the fans. The fans were fantastic on Sunday night and I want them all to keep singing.”

The President met local mayor Ryszard Grobelny at the city council offices before spending about an hour in the Museum of Musical Instruments in the Stary Rynek square.

Despite the disappointment, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said there is still a lot to play for.

“I am sorry that Ireland did not measure up,” he said. “Clearly it is a big disappointment for the team and for the manager Trappatoni but also for the supporters, all 40,000 of them who had travelled.”

He said the next two games, against Italy and Spain, would be “enormously challenging”. “That’s what professional, world-class football is about. There are no hiding places on a football pitch.”

The Taoiseach originally intended to travel to the Spain game on Thursday night but this won’t now happen because of Cabinet commitments.

“We have got to get our priorities in place here,” Mr Kenny stated.

Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar is to travel to Poland for the crucial matches against Spain and Italy.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs has reported no serious incidents involving the huge numbers of travelling fans.

But one eager Irish fan travelled to Poland on his wife’s passport by mistake only to be refused entry by immigration officers.

When the blunder was spotted by Polish police, the man rang his wife who rushed to a Garda station to have his correct travel documents scanned and sent to the airport.

It is understood he passed through check-in and security at Dublin Airport without anyone noticing the error. The man declined to talk publicly about the mistake.

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