Home > EURO 2012, Travel > Not quite an endless summer

Not quite an endless summer

The Euro 2012 theme song by Oceana is called ‘Endless Summer’. Well for Ireland, the Euros have seemed like a series of endless defeats
with three losses in our three games. It certainly wasn’t what we hoping for after doing so well to qualify for Euros.

Journeying out to the tournament just over ten days ago it seemed like it would be an endless tournament as I contemplated optimistically how to get to the knock out stages; fly home and back out or work out of our company’s Warsaw office for a few days. As it is, those Ireland quarter-final, semi-final and final tickets are simply a souvaneer now after Ireland’s three defeats. The players flew back this morning and the fans are making their way own home via campervan (imagine how depressing that journey is!) or on flights from Poznan, Berlin or Warsaw where I’ve travelled to.

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Having said all that though it has been a great trip to Poland who were excellent hosts. From the bloke who walked me 10 minutes out of his way to help find my Pension in Poznan to the guy who pulled in and gave three of our group a lift to the game when their tram broke down yesterday. The Poznan and Gdansk stadiums were excellent. We got to see some historical sights, have a week long sing-song and to see one of the best teams ever to play this game.

I’ve been to a few of these tournaments but only one until this one following Ireland. That trip to Japan & Korea in 2002 was by far the most enjoyable tournament for me. On the pitch it couldn’t have been more different than this one. Back then Ireland put in some impressive displays, getting out of the group and were unlucky not to beat Spain. Having said that we also spent a lot of time talking about Roy Keane in 2002 as well as in 2012!

Going as a neutral to tournament games means you don’t have the dispiriting depression following a defeat. You can celebrate with the winning supporters and enjoy the game for what is in front of you. I’d still prefer though to be at a tournament supporting me own team even if they arent winning. It would just be better to be singing joyfully about a good Ireland performance or result rather than the sympathy singing we have had a lot of in Poland.

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The atmosphere at last nights game against Italy was up there with the best I’ve been in. The crowd reacts to what they see on the pitch and thankfully that wasn’t the concession of an early goal for Ireland that we had in the earlier games. The sight of the 25,000 plus Irish fans “doing the Poznan” was superb.

The team put in a markedly better performance than in the other two defeats but we still finshed rock bottom of the group. It was a table that was not “upside down” as some fans chanted but accurately reflected the gulf in class between Ireland and the other teams we faced in what was probably the hardest group we had been played in ever at a finals.

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The fans sung long into the night back in Poznan’s Old Town. It was as if we had won the game so it was the type of singing that a former captain of Ireland would not approve of. Ireland rode our luck in qualifying and we got what we deserved when we did qualify. Whether this bunch of players under this manager can qualify for the next tournament is the question. With Germany and Swedan in our qualification group, it is a big ask. It is doubtful that we will be cheering on our boys in brazil but let’s hope so.

The next Euros seems a lifetime away. With France 2016 having 24 teams, we will have as good a chance to qualify as ever before. Many of the current team and our manager will have retired by the time it comes around. Will we have the coach and squad to get us to France? Might hold off on booking that campervan and ferry tickets to France just yet! It’s not an endless summer so it’s time to get back to work…

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