Perhaps it was the surroundings, perhaps it was the extended hangover or perhaps it was just the result at the weekend but it appeared that the party in Lille wouldn't be hitting the heights of what we saw in Paris and Bordeaux. We probably spoke too soon because things really started to kick into gear in the north of France last night.
Over the past couple of weeks, it would seem that half of Europe's media is keen to juxtapose the scenes of violence when England come to town with the unadulterated jubilation whenever Ireland are involved. But what is it that sets the two sets of fans apart? Are the cultural differences really that deep that England fans are predetermined to throw plastic chairs across a European piazza while we're predetermined to turn it into the kind of good natured party that residents are happy to put it with purely because they know we'll be knocked out soon enough.
One of the more interesting things I've heard from an Ireland fan in France over the past couple of weeks is the idea that 'we self-police'. There are individual gobshites in the English fanbase and there are individual gobshites in the Irish fanbase. The difference between the two seems to be that the English ones grow and multiply while the Irish ones are soon put in their place when things start to get a bit out of hand.
Take, for example, this scene in Lille last night.
By all accounts, an Irish fan(s) left a fairly hefty dent in the roof of a car last night. Obviously enough, that's not on so the 'self-policing' of the green army kicked into gear and...
If there's a lesson in this, it's probably to try and not to dent the cars of the locals. However, if you're going to do it, then, at the very least have an army of willing volunteers to help fix the problem.
Big thanks to Lee Ò Broin for sending the video our way. And if you have anything to submit to Balls.ie from France of beyond, then you can get us on Facebook, Twitter or email [email protected] with any submissions.