Flashback : Musings on a football match.

That sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach was one felt by many Irish football fans before kick-off last night. There was that dangerous optimism that Ireland would deliver something special. It was their last chance to make it through the group stages of the Euros 2012, something never achieved by an Irish team before.

As Amhran na bhFiann rang out around the stadium the camera caught the faces of the many young Irish lads who had made the trip to Poland hoping to see their team achieve success. As the game began, one commentator made it clear ‘the pressure was on’. Spain were in control from the start as ‘You’ll Never Beat the Irish’ rang around the stadium. A great save from Dunne lifted the Irish crowd but they were quickly silenced with Torres’ goal in only the fourth minute. The reactions of pure frustration and devastation shown on the faces of Dunne and Given were understood and similarly felt by the Irish fans. The Spanish coninued to take shots at goal, leaving us all breathless, in fear of a second goal. The crowd all the time growing more anxious, searching for a reason to have their voices heard. A much needed chance to relax was awarded with the arrival of half time.

As the second half commences there is still hope that Ireland will deliver. But Silva’s goal breaks Irish hearts as you feel it’s all over – with 41 minutes to go. Silence from Irish supporters as the Spanish voices are the only ones heard in Poland. They steal possession over and over, running circles around the boys in green. Devastation comes with Torres’ second goal and then the fourth for Spain by Fabregas. It is most definitely over.

With the final whistle you can barely watch as the Irish team congratulate their rivals, but you stay to watch and listen to the Irish crowd raise their voices in support of their team. Their support is most definitely something to be proud of. All the same, it would have been a lot sweeter to hear their voices ring out as an answer to victory rather than defeat.

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