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Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 27 January 2021

French media: When it comes to its football fans, "Ireland is unified"

“It does us good to see such happy people.”

Euro 2016 soccer tournament Irish fans partying in Bordeaux ahead of the Belgium match last Thursday Source: Catherine Wylie

AS YOU MAY have noticed, Irish fans, of both the southern and northern variety, have been making something of an impression in France during the Euros.

The constant stream of stories about how the Irish contrast with fans of certain other nations in their simple pursuit of a good time hasn’t let up since the tournament began 12 days ago.

Now esteemed French sports daily L’Equipe has doubled down on this perception and declared that when it comes to setting a good mood “Ireland is Unified”.

l'equipe Source: L'Equipe

The paper has dedicated a two-page spread in today’s edition to lauding the contribution of fans of both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland towards making the tournament a success.

Citing such now-legendary events as fans of the Republic changing an elderly couple’s car wheel and a young Northern Irish fan being gifted a ticket to see his team play Ukraine, the paper is in no doubt as to what teams have done most to make the tournament an enjoyable experience for all.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

“If their jerseys were not slightly different it would be difficult to distinguish one green army from the other,” the article reads.

In the cities, they have sung, drunk, danced, and left leaving smiles on all faces.

One story the article relates concerns a Cork fan of the Republic, Michael O’Mahony, accidentally swigging from a bottle of vinegar in Paris while inebriated thinking it was white wine. Not quite so humanitarian but still pretty funny.

One Parisian bar owner, who has dealt with fans of both teams since the competition began, describes the behaviour of both sets as being good for the soul.

“In Paris, the atmosphere has been a little morose since the attacks (last November’s terror attacks),” said Jeanine Leboeuf.

It does us good to see people so happy.

The Republic face a stiff task to stay in the competition this evening when they take on unbeaten Italy where only a victory will suffice (the North having already qualified for the second round).

Win or lose tonight, it’s nice to know we’ve left our mark in a positive fashion.

The only competition between both sets of fans is to see who will be crowned as the best according to L’Equipe:

“They have quickly outpaced the competition and are engaged in a good-hearted duel with each other for the final victory.”

There is an element of controversy to the piece however. The author, Gregory Fleurot, reckons that the Northern fans have won the singing contest hands down with their rendition of Will Griggs On Fire (to the tune of Gala’s 90s floor-filler Freed From Desire).

Source: SIRK/YouTube

He obviously hasn’t heard Shane Long’s On Fire (to the same tune). Sort it out Gregory.

You can read the original French article here.

Read: Rory isn’t willing to take the risk, but just how big a problem is the Zika virus?

Read: Here’s who Ireland could face if they qualify for the last-16

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