It’S a long time since we heard an Irish team sing on a flight home, even if the fare offered by Trap’s Army early on Sunday morning was about up to Ireland’s recent Eurovision standard.

It was the Reading striker Shane Long who led the troupe through the usual suspects on the Aer Lingus plane, as everything from the “Auld Triangle” to “Leroy Brown” and “Molly Malone” got an airing.

This squad which Trap has rebuilt was in good spirits, you see. For all of them the season had just ended with a deserved 1-1 draw in Bulgaria, and they were about to embark on their summer holidays.

The manager, in a brave move for an Italian, let them have a beer or three or four on the way home, and for once they remembered what it was like to be an Irish team where spirit and morale can be just as important as skill.

There were no cliques on that flight, no one hiding behind anything other than a human curtain of FAI officials standing up in the aisle in a sad attempt to stop the rest of us on the plane -- fare paying passengers, unlike them -- from witnessing what was going on.

I don’t know why the FAI were so worried. I’ve been with Irish players on far bigger benders than that enjoyed by Trap’s squad on their journey out of Sofia, and I’ve heard better singers double as Irish players, not least Kenny Cunningham or my old mate Liam Daish.

This lot would never win a sing-off with the World Cup squad of 2002, who famously entertained us on the way home from Korea seven years ago -- after the media had taught them how to conduct a real sing-song on the way home from Tehran months earlier.

Nor would Messrs Long or Andrews hold a candle to Johnny Giles or Ray Treacy in the warbling stakes, so the FAI bods so anxious to keep their players from view had little to worry themselves about on that Airbus plane.

Instead they should have been happy to enjoy what was a significant night for Irish football, even if some of the defending after Richard Dunne’s 24th minute opening goal was shambolic to say the least.

Over a year into his reign Trap has still to taste defeat in a competitive match, and he has managed to maintain that record so often now that it can no longer be just down to luck.

He has these current Ireland players well organized and confident, comfortable with each other and rallied to the cause.

If they can win two of the three remaining games against Cyprus, Italy and Montenegro then the playoffs will be the very least he deserves next November.

The way things are going we may even get to the World Cup finals themselves and then the Irish squad really will have something to sing about.

We’ll even let them sing -- badly -- on the plane to Johannesburg if they can just get us there.

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