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The Matador: Getting To Know One Of Ireland’s Most Iconic Supporters

Ireland

Shane Dorgan has been an Ireland fan as long as he can remember.

Born into a GAA family, the self-confessed “black sheep” of the clan lives for football.

Dorgan attended his first Ireland game in 1998, and remembers it fondly.

“I went with my father in 1998 when Ireland played Mexico in a friendly in Lansdowne Road. I remember it well, because Luis Hernandez was playing for them, and all the crowd was calling him “knickers”!

“Funny enough he was called El Matador, which is ironic because that’s what they now call me after Paris!”

Dorgan shot to fame in the run-up to Ireland vs Sweden at Euro 2016. The pre-match revelry was kicking into overdrive, and a dance he performed with a Swedish fan became a symbol of the craic both countries enjoyed, and the camaraderie between the two sets of supporters, in stark contrast to scenes in the other host cities throughout the tournament.

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“We turned a corner in Paris and we saw a sea of yellow. We joined another group of Irish lads and we were all chanting every song under the sun.

“Among all the crowds, a French marching band came along playing some French traditional music, so I started jigging along.

“Before I knew it, there was a Swedish guy dancing along with me.

“A crowd gathered around in a circle. I was wearing a matador mask, and as luck would have it, he had a viking hat with horns on!

“Before I knew it, we ended up doing the bull and the matador.”

A video was recorded, and it had gone viral in minutes.

“It ended up being a great friendly thing between two countries!”

Dorgan has been on the road, supporting Ireland for years. Travelling throughout Europe, answering #TheCallUp and cheering on the Boys in Green.

He has countless stories to share, but one sticks out in his mind, as Ireland were playing Scotland in Celtic Park in 2014.

“We couldn’t get tickets, so we had to apply as Scottish fans to get them. The SFA had warned Irish fans not to wear green if they were in the home section, so we had to cover up and put jackets over our jerseys. Outside the ground, there were hundreds of Irish fans in the same boat; covering up before reaching the turnstiles, but there was a serious Irish support once we got into the stadium!”

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“Before we knew it, we were joining in with all their songs, we got a bit more confident and took off the jackets. When they saw the green we got a fair bit of abuse!”

Cheering on Ireland is not a hobby for Dorgan, it’s a passion.

“I go to every home game.

“The fans have really gotten behind the team. We’re most certainly the 12th man, and I don’t think any other country enjoys that kind of support.

“In terms of the atmosphere, it’s unbelievable!”

Thousands of fans like Dorgan answer #TheCallUp on a regular basis to cheer on Ireland, as we gather pace along the road to Russia.

To get to Russia we need more than a squad of 23. We need every Irish man, woman and child to answer #TheCallUp and join the biggest squad in the world.

As official sponsor to the Irish team, Three will be sharing the stories of what Irish football means to those who bleed green and have answered #TheCallUp.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.