By Kevin Regan
Unfortunately Ireland’s time at the Euro’s has come to an end! After the elation of last Wednesday’s magnificent win over Italy, the host’s France let the air out of the balloon and sent us packing after we had began so well going a goal ahead.
It’s been quite a tournament for Martin O’Neill’s side and here are Five things we have learned from it.
1. We are a better side than many people think
In qualifying for the tournament, many people questioned just how good this Irish side were. But these questions were answered emphatically.
The lions share of the Sweden game was an immediate sign that we could actually play a bit, particularly during the first half which produced some decent passages of play although the goal didn’t come til the second half.
Against Italy we bossed the game from the get go and again put together some brilliant moves, so from that perspective Ireland have proved many doubters wrong who may have questioned our ability.
2.We have the best supporters in the World
OK, so this may be glaringly obvious, but in case there was any doubt, Ireland really are the best supporters in the world!
Through thick and thin, the fans got behind the Boys In Green and were every bit as vocal in the defeats to Belgium and France, as they were in that historic win over Italy.
Every other country seems to acknowledge this too and for that reason we are adored all over the planet.
3. Robbie Brady Deserves A Big Move
A number of players produced some serious performances for Ireland at the Euro’s, with Jeff Hendrick and Darren Randolph to name just a few.
However Robbie Brady was simply outstanding throughout the tournament.
And I Don’t just say this because of his goals against Italy and France alone, it’s the fact the he covered every blade of grass in every game, winning the ball back, putting passes together and proving lethal from set pieces.
If Brady doesn’t get a move away from Norwich who will play Championship Football next year, then something is seriously wrong with the World!
4. We can mix it with the best in the Business
At Euro 2012 Ireland were absolutely septic, there’s no doubt about that. Back then we were outclassed and outplayed by Croatia, Spain and Italy and really looked out of their depth.
Fast Forward to Euro 2016 and we beat the Italians who topped out group and came within a whisker of defeating the tournament favourites and host nation France.
These are encouraging signs ahead of the World Cup 2018 Qualifiers which get underway in just a few months time, so the confidence that Ireland have gained from the past few games should inspire them to go on and take a few more big scalps.
5. Shane Long Isn’t Actually On Fire!
For all you people who may have been concerned about the health of Shane Long, fear not because the Irish Striker isn’t literally on fire despite many rumors of people being terrified!
The emergency services and local crematoriums have confirmed that this indeed is a false alarm but they expect Long to spontaneously combust during the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers!