Football

Leo Varadkar Has Forgotten He Attended Ireland's 4-0 Hammering To Spain At Euro 2012

Leo Varadkar Has Forgotten He Attended Ireland's 4-0 Hammering To Spain At Euro 2012

2012 was a busy summer for Leo Varadkar.

Five years ago, the Taoiseach was the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. In his role as Minister he travelled to Poland for Euro 2012 and London for that summer's Olympics.

The Taoiseach is currently in Canada on a trade mission, where has was asked about this weekend's fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor by The Globe and Mail.

On the front page of today's newspaper, the opening of the piece (written by Tipperary-born John Doyle) shows the journalist's reluctance and guilt asking about the fight, when the Fine Gael "came all the way to Canada to do official business".

Varadkar would not predict how long McGregor would last in the ring, but on seeing Doyle's bag, for former Minister for Sport slipped up.

He then points to my satchel which had "Euro 2004, Portugal" on it. "I was at the Euro in Poland in 2012, saw two of Ireland's matches", he says.

I ask if he was at the soccer team's famous loss to Spain that Irish supporters had turned into a huge party. He cant remember if he had been at that one.

Varadkar was at that match.

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Some sleuthing on social media revealed he was interviewed by Pat Kenny on RTE Radio 1 on the morning of the match while in Gdansk.

And this article from the Irish Examiner the day after confirms that he was there:

Mr Varadkar, speaking in Gdansk where he was watching the Ireland-Spain Euro 2012 match last night in his capacity as sports minister, said the current Croke Park deal would end next year and talks needed to begin on the next agreement.

How could somebody forget being at a match of that importance? The 4-0 defeat was the nadir of  the Republic of Ireland's sorrowful participation at Euro 2012.

The game was best remembered for the Irish fans singing of The Fields of Athenry in the latter stages of the match, when Giovanni Trappatoni's side were being outclassed in Gdansk by the World champions. The reaction of the fans to the defeat was lauded worldwide, but seemingly went over the head of the-then Minister for Sport.

Understandably a politician of the level of Varadkar will attend countless events in their role. Not many include the national football team playing at their first major tournament in a decade, and being trounced by the World champions.

Daniel Kelly

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