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Republic of Ireland fans had nothing but pride in their team after Euro 2016 exit


At half-time Republic of Ireland fans dared to dream.

After beating Italy to reach the last-16, Robbie Brady’s early penalty had given them a 1-0 lead over hosts France at the break – and the possibility of the biggest upset of Euro 2016 was very much on the cards.

Confidence was high. The France fans were booing their players off. Irish fans sensed something big.

No-one was naive enough to suspect it would be all plain sailing after the break, and even as the half-time analysis was being delivered the nerves remained.

But the analysts agreed, Ireland deserved their lead. The pressure was weighing heavily on the hosts.

France dug deep. Most significantly, Antoine Griezmann – who broke Irish hearts in a stunning 10-minute burst.

He struck twice in the space of four minutes and then forced Shane Duffy into a foul that the defender made knowing that he would probably see red, but also stop a near-certain goal.

From that moment, Ireland’s race was run.

The expectation of half-time pricked. Expectation gone. It was a tough pill to swallow but, with 25 minutes to stew over a campaign that saw the Republic qualify for Euro 2016 from a group that included Poland and Germany and then beat Italy to reach the knockout phase, there was nothing but love from the fans.

The Irish fans endeared themselves off the pitch too.

They will be missed.