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The Best Irish Fan Stories From The Historic Victory Over Italy

The Best Irish Fan Stories From The Historic Victory Over Italy
By Conall Cahill
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When Euro 2016 is done and dusted, what will linger in the mind?

The exact rhythm and flow of each game will be forgotten. Goals, such as Robbie Brady's header, will be remembered. Keane embracing O'Neill at the final whistle.

Significant moments.

The fallibility of the human memory means that only those events which truly meant something to us or were really remarkable will remain lodged in our minds, to be dusted down and revisited in a quiet hour of sentimental recollection. Maybe in a time of sadness such a memory will bring a smile to our faces. Perhaps a recollection of a story will bring the colour, sound and noise of France all rushing back, and result in a night of laughter and tale-telling.

And so to fans' tales from France, sourced from our ever-reliable Euro 2016 Facebook group.

These tales abound with music, joy, emotion and freedom. Encounters with strangers who became friends for a night and were waved goodbye in a state of drunken reverie, never again to be encountered except in wistful dreams. Chance tickets from legends of the game, a guitar that was played until morning shone its warm heat upon the artist; life-long romances sealed with a helping hand from the green army.

Photographs will adorn walls and provoke questions in years to come that will be met with a twinkle of the eye, a smile and a pulled-up chair; a story to be told.

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Here are just a few of the hundreds of stories that are sure to be told for years to come.

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Evan De Vere Hunt

 I was in front of the Irish bar in Lille, L'Irlandais, after the match, talking to a French lady whose grand-daughter's boyfriend wanted to propose to her grand-daughter (who had no idea).

She asked if I could help. So I ran around with another lad and managed to organise the Boys in Green to form a big circle.

He took her into the middle and got down on one knee, as everyone shouted, 'Ohhhhh...'-like it was Italy taking a corner-until she said 'Yes.'

At which time everyone jumped around, like it was Brady scoring a goal.

Oh, and then everyone poured their beers all over them!

Alex Doyle

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I received a free ticket from Packie Bonner after meeting him outside L'entrecôte, a restaurant in Bordeaux.

I originally had no plans to head up to Lille, but after getting that I knew I had to. I had a feeling something special was going to happen.

I ended up paying €500 for a train from Bordeaux to Lille and back again the next morning (as we're flying out of Bordeaux on Saturday), buying the girlfriend a Category 1 ticket off some really sound lads from Limerick and then swapping it for a seat closer to me. I also got free accommodation off a friend of a friend who lives in Lille.

The seat that Packie gave me was ridiculously close to the pitch-you could almost smell the sweat coming from the lads after the game.

The best decision I ever made was to go to that game despite the 5 and a half hour journey each way.

Shame I won't be able to go to Lyon as it's looking too expensive to stay on, but delighted I got the game in anyway.

Liam McAllister

We were queuing for the Metro, singing and chanting, when I hoisted a violin busker up onto my shoulders for 'Stand Up For The Boys In Green'.

I only realised when he was up there that he had a wooden leg-I nearly pulled it off!

He loved the banter and thought he was set to make a fortune. All he got was more songs and a sup of wine!

Richy Sheehy

I'm at the peak of mental and physical exhaustion. That night was just incredible. It's hard to put into words.

There was a strange air of expectation before the game. It was electric inside the ground.

Major thanks to the sound Belgian for the ticket, and the French for the place to stay (and I'm sorry, I'm such an idiot of remarkable proportions that I left the spare key inside the other side of the door so now they can't get into their own apartment).

I stayed out until 7. Busking pre-match, screaming throughout the match, busking afterwards with a great bunch of strangers. I belted through everything: Irish tunes, 'Fairytale of New York', 'Stan', and even Mickey Joe Harte.

Robbie Brady. Oh my God, Robbie Brady.

Security asked us to stop at 5am. I gave them some Tracy Chapman, which turned to 'Brady Can I Hold You Tonight?'

Like some somewhat notable and some non-notable guys before me I had a dream. And last night after the match the dream was fulfilled, for I serenaded the one and only Ronnie Whelan. Of course, the song choice is obvious.

P.S. I'm staying in France.

Jamie Wall

I was sat at home in my sitting room and went batshit crazy when Brady scored.

I puked up my dinner and booked the Eurotunnel.

Currently driving to Dublin, Holyhead to Cambridge, and then Cambridge to Lyon.

I think I've lost a few brain cells.

Cassie Murphy

When we arrived at the Fanzone in Paris, it was mainly Italians-I'd say there were at most 20-30 Irish there but we were spread all over the place.

I had a French guy ask me where all the Irish were meeting-he was saying there weren't enough Irish supporters and that he needed to find us all so that the singing could begin. He went on the hunt for more green jerseys.

There were English fans either side of us who realized by our faces halfway through that this was an extremely important match for us and started shouting for us. The crowd was very mixed at the start but a clear divide started to form about midway through the first half.

On the right and to the back was all Italians. To the left was everyone else.

The group were singing for the majority of the match but it was clear very few were Irish-we tried to start up the national anthem and 'The Fields of Athenry', but no luck. 'Come On You Boys In Green' and 'Stand Up For The Boys In Green' were all we were getting!

I saw one Irish flag being swung around in the air accompanied by French, Swiss, British, Northern Irish and even a PSG flag. The English lads started screaming, "Shane Long's On Fire" and jumped around like lunatics with us. At one stage we even had a group of French teenagers-one wrapped in an Irish flag-who had just finished their 'Bac' come up and ask us for face paint and started joining in on the chants.

When we scored all I could hear were screams from the crowd. But you could see every Irish person was practically crying and in disbelief before it actually clicked with us.

It's clear we have definitely brought an atmosphere some of these people have never seen before. Nobody seems to want us to go home.

(Thanks to all those who shared their stories with us in the Balls.ie Euro 2016 Facebook Group)

See Also: 'Even With Your Belly Sticking Over Your Shirt, You Have Class'

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