Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Ireland Insured that it was Fully Comprehensive

The great adventure is over.

What started with a 1-0 win over Armenia almost 2 years ago - ended in defeat this week.

Not the heroic kind synonymous with Irish football over the years.

No, not at all.

No handballs from Frenchmen.

No last minute Macedonian headers.

No missed penalties.

Just defeat.

Comprehensive defeat.

The hopes and dreams of so many Irish fans were in full flow coming into the tournament.

14 games without loss.

Only 1 goal conceded in 10 games.

We had a manager who had given us a game plan.

Made us really tough to score against.

Even tougher to beat.

Oh how we had improved since the embarrassment of our last management team.

Heck, we were world beaters.

In the last 4 years we had done one on the French in Paris.

Until that ‘heroic defeat’ entered the fray again.

We had played Italy 3 times since they won the World Cup.

Masterminding 2 draws and a victory.

And the last competitive tie we played before our trip to Poland, saw us destroy Estonia in the Play-offs.


The belief was back.

And we were taking it to the Euros with us.

The fans sang songs.

Invaded the square.

Belief all over the stadium.

That is, until the officials kicked things off.

3 games later and Ireland had equalled the all time worst record of any team in a European Championship.

Our undefeated record was smashed with 3 straight losses.

Our defence caved in and conceded 9 goals.

Our attack replied with just the 1.

Our greatest ever goalkeeper, so long a hero, had proved culpable on more than 1 occasion.

That was more than 1 occasion in every game mind.

The leader of our defence, so masterful in Moscow, was playing desperately below his own high standards.

Our all time leading goalscorer, and Captain, had little or no impact.

The list goes on.

And on.

Each of our heros defeated.

Each so comprehensively.

Of course, effort was not an issue.

It never is with this squad.

It was just the harsh reality that this time, defeat came about because we were not good enough.




The belief that had returned to Ireland since the change in management had evaporated after just 3 minutes.

Replaced with this cold harsh reality.

The Ireland team were simply not good enough.

And unlike the heroic defeats, we now had nothing to hold on to this time.

The emptiness of being outclassed was a lot harder to stomach.

No Frenchman to direct our anger at.

No referee to curse through the next campaign.

No excuses.

Just comprehension.

That Ireland simply were not good enough...


  1. Hard to disagree with anything you have written (which is rare from me !!).
    O'Shea also deserves a mention as I thought he was amongst our poorer players, especially when you take into account everything he has won and the high standards he has set himself.
    In my opinion, Andrews was our best player. But will he get Irish player of the tournament given his red? Does there even deserve to be such an award?
    I echo your views about the fact there is no shining light as there always has been in the past. Everyone called for McLean, he only got a few minutes. Duff , Dunne and Given will probably go. Keane another possibility.
    Who is going to replace these? Brazil 2014 we face the vibrant free scoring Germans and the Swedes who were unluncky to lose to England and beat the French.
    Hard to be too optimistic im afraid.

  2. i thought we cud win the group if we had a bit of luck. i cudnt of been more wrong. so disapointed that we werent as good as i thought we were. no complaints. just werent good enough