After a devastating Tuesday night at the Aviva Stadium, Irish football fans have been left wondering just how severe and long lasting the damage from the 5-1 loss will be.
Heading into the tie with Denmark, Ireland and its army of fans knew that a place at the World Cup was at stake. It was make or break and if Martin O’Neill’s men failed to do a job against the Danes, thoughts of a World Cup would have to be put on hold for another four years. However, the manner of Tuesday’s obliteration proved that there was much more on the line than a place at the World Cup.
Twenty minutes into the game and the atmosphere at the Aviva Stadium was arguably the greatest the structure had contained since the Landsdowne Road redevelopment back in 2010. However, with just under a half an hour to go, countless members of the Green Army turned away as droves of fans poured out of the stadium.
With the manner of the defeat on Tuesday, it seemed that O’Neill’s men had not only lost a place in the World Cup, but the country’s faith. Something they had spent the last four years earning.
However, it is important to remember that demand for tickets for the game was unprecedented and as such, there were undoubtedly countless present at the Aviva on Tuesday night who had not been there at any other point in the campaign.
Those that had, those who had suffered through the highs and lows of what had in fact been a magnificent campaign, remained and, after the final whistle blew and the Boys in Green collapsed onto the pitch in united dismay, an inspirational moment reminded everyone that a future for Irish football lies ahead.
As the players attempted to lift themselves off the pitch after their efforts had fallen well short against a talented Danish side, the fans did not jeer or turn their backs on the fallen, they rose to their feet and bellowed their iconic roar; ‘Come on you boys in green…’
A heartbreaking end to what was a great campaign. Last night couldn’t possibly have gone worse but it was genuinely inspiring to see this after the final whistle. Bring on Euro 2020. #COYBIG ☘️ pic.twitter.com/8BY894iUgE
— John Murphy (@JohnMurphy_Jr) November 15, 2017