We’re all part of Martin’s army

Martin's army Ireland Euros 2016
12 June 2016; Republic of Ireland supporters at the Eiffel Tower. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ireland gets behind the boys in green ahead of their Euros fixtures in France

Amid the disappointing reports of rowdy fans clashing in Marseille, it seems the Irish who have travelled to France for the European Championship have been “very well behaved”, according to Gardaí.

Garda Supt Gerry Delmar spoke to The Irish Times about the atmosphere so far. “The Irish fans — they’re very, very popular. We can see it here with them. They’re very popular throughout Europe. Over here they’ve been very, very well received”, he said.

The fans keeping it friendly with Croatian fans:

“They’re mingling with fans from other countries, and they’re getting on fine, so it certainly makes our work very, very easy.”

Robbie Keane commented on the support that Irish fans give and what it means to the players:

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it until I’m blue in the face, no competition is the same if we don’t have the Irish fans there. For a small nation like ourselves, the support that we get no matter where we go-it’s a reflection of how good this nation is and how good the support is for the players.

“When I was a kid growing up, ’88, ’90, ’94, it was the same thing. It hasn’t changed, and full credit to the Irish fans. Because it’s not easy for fans to go away for a few weeks. With the recession a few years ago, it’s tough times for people, to get the money and to travel. It’s expensive, it’s not cheap for them. To do that, I’m telling you right now, the lads are very grateful for that…we genuinely appreciate the support.”

Martin's army Ireland Euros 2016
These fans will face anything to support their team: Republic of Ireland supporters Sean Moore, left, and Ciaran Farrell from Maynooth, Co. Kildare, at the Arc de Triomphe during UEFA Euro 2016 in Paris, France. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Martin's army Ireland Euros 2016
12 June 2016; Republic of Ireland supporters at the Eiffel Tower at UEFA Euro 2016 in Paris, France. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

With tensions high on the streets of Paris, Marseille and beyond, here’s hoping the good behaviour continues. There’s a thin line between proud and smug.

The support for the Irish team has been growing over the last few weeks, with messages of encouragement from all corners.

We even have fans in Thailand. ‘The Thai Tims’ have been recording songs for Celtic and Ireland for years in conjunction with the Good Child Foundation. Here’s their most recent offering: “Ireland Euro 2016”

Follow all the latest on Twitter and Facebook with some of the following tags: #COYBIG #Euro2016 #IRLSWE

President Michael D. Higgins released the following statement in support of the team:

Martin's army Ireland Euros 2016
President Michael D. Higgins

“As the teams prepare for their first matches at Euro 2016, may I extend my greetings to the fans, coaches and players of all 24 nations participating, and in particular my best wishes for success to the Republic of Ireland team and our neighbouring Northern Ireland team.

Many of us look forward to a feast of skill, talent and passion, as well as to the sheer celebration of the art of football at this tournament, this ‘Rendez-Vous’ in France.

As President of Ireland I want to express our collective pride in having Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane’s team representing us on the international stage and I wish them every success in the coming weeks. I have no doubt that, as Ireland once again has the honour of competing for the Henri Delaunay cup, this team can create new memories to add to those of 1988 and 2012.

For Northern Ireland fans, I know this tournament will bring back happy memories of the great team of the 1980s.

The beauty of soccer lies not only in the athleticism and skills of the players, but also in its ability to bring out the best in people, players and spectators alike, and Irish supporters have a great reputation for how they support their team abroad.

Sport is so much more than entertainment. Sport brings us together and helps bridge cultural, linguistic or ethnic divides.

This year, of course, we have two Irish teams participating, and we have the additional joy of supporting each other.

It is my sincere hope that our teams’ participation in Euro 2016 will be an occasion to strengthen the common bonds among all of us living on this island, and within the community of peoples we call Europe.”


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