So tonight Ireland's Euro 2012 effectively came to an end. Sure we still have to play Italy, and who would bet against the Irish playing out of their skins and causing a huge upset, this team has a lot of pride and will want to go out on a high, not just for themselves but for their loyal fans too. Tonight however they ran up against possibly the greatest team in the world in the Spanish, and the result was a predictable 0-4 trashing.
Bizarrely, what most will remember from the match will be the absolutely incredible display of support the magnificent travelling Irish fans showed, as the clock ticked down first to 90 minutes and then through the last three minutes of added time. With the match dying out, the masses of Irish fans ripped out a six minute long, stirring rendition of 'The fields of Athenry'. Several TV shows (I hear German, Dutch and even Spanish) deliberately didn't speak over the singing to allow their viewers experience it properly.
There are going to be plenty of cynics who try and bring this wonderful little moment down, but just ignore them. Crank up the volume, sit back and enjoy the 6 minutes video from German TV below. This is just a wonderfully unusual moment in sports, a moment of goodwill, kindness, passion and loyalty.
Enjoy it for what it is. Support, in the truest sense of the word. No Nazi banners, no bananas thrown on the pitch, no angry, hateful chants. Just pride and passion, displayed in a dignified, moving way by literally thousands of Irish who refused to let the score get in the way of their support for their boys.
We live in what can be a nasty, brutish world, it is heart warming every now and then to find an oasis of goodwill and humanity. Low lie, the fields of Athenry..
Update - Friday15th June
The morning after
So UEFA have forced YouTube to take the original video in all its brilliance down. Congratulations to UEFA for trying to stop people enjoying a wonderful sporting moment. Brilliant minds at work in there obviously. Fear not. We have trawled the web and come up with the below alternatives.
This is a simple, short one with excellent audio.
Another short, grainy one that nonetheless has superb audio. Notice this is well after the match has finished and the Irish are still singing!
Finally, a top notch video and audio rendition, however I am not confident UEFA won't swoop on this one also.
There we go. Big Brother can go take a hike. We will make sure a working video of the amazing Irish supporters stays up on this come hell or high water! Enjoy.
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