Saturday, November 26, 2011

Nostalgia moment - Lisbon 15th November 1995

Experimenting with Roma's new camera on the night before she left for South Africa I got a photo of myself wearing my Ireland jersey - it was also the night of Ireland's brilliant 4-0 win over Estonia in the Euro 2012 play-offs. I bought the jersey in 1995, and like to wear it when Ireland are playing (even if just watching the match on telly).

Come on you boys in green!
This photo reminds me of the night of 15th November 1995 when Ireland took on Portugal in the last game of the group stages of the Euro 1996 in the Stadium of Light in Lisbon - the only "away" international I have ever been to. I travelled with my brother Brian and we had a great time - my memories include drinking pints at 7 o'clock in the morning at Dublin airport, the rain, Brian's almost all day hilarious haggling with a persistent Brazilian selling "gold" rings, and the dancing girls at a Musgrave's bash after the game which we crashed.

Alas - the game which Ireland had to win to qualify, was not what we had hoped. We later lost a play-off to Holland. From FAI History Chapter 33:

The fans played their part and travelled in numbers as an estimated 25,000 crowded into the Stadium of Light in Lisbon on a night when the rain poured down incessantly. Ireland had to work to the limit to restrain a marvellous Portugal who made nonsense of the conditions by playing wonderful, compelling football.

Ireland succeeded in defying them for an hour but then Rui Costa conjured up a beautiful opening goal with a chip that floated over the top of the defence and dipped into the net off the underside of the crossbar. Ireland were ineffective in attack, unable to muster a revival as Portugal won emphatically 3-0.

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