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16th Jul 2016

Robbie Elliot sounds like he had an absolute blast as an Ireland fan at Euro 2016

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Patrick McCarry

“I probably shouldn’t have gone as mental as I did.”

Feck it Robbie, you were part of the green army.

Just about every footballing heart in Ireland went out to Robbie Elliot when he was stretchered off in the first half of the friendly match against Slovakia, in March.

The Newcastle goalkeeper feared the worst and the doctors confirmed the worst, he had torn his anterior cruciate ligament. “I got quite emotional but I think that was the best thing,” he said. “I got everything out that I needed to then. You’ve just got to get on with things.”

He would miss the end of the season – unable to prevent the Toon’s relegation – and Euro 2016. Still, that did not stop him from going to France.

Easing into a new season with Newcastle, Elliot was at Carton House on Friday and spoke with us about his Euro 2016 experience as a convalescing player and, primarily, an Ireland fan. He said:

“I managed to go and watch them against Italy. I was in Lille for a couple of days. All my friends and my uncle had come over and they booked me on the Eurostar with them.

“It was really nice and obviously it was a brilliant game. When Robbie Brady scored at the end, they went mental. It was an amazing experience. It would have been brilliant to be there as part of the squad, but this was the second-best way.”

“Mental” is how he describes the scenes when Brady’s header sent Ireland into the knockout stages. With a smile, he recalled:

“I probably shouldn’t have gone as mental as I did. I got jumped on from behind and the front. I’ve still got the bruises on my calf from the seats where we fell over. It’s not very often you see us win against Italy.”

Interestingly, Elliot says he was able to slip in and out of the joyous huddles of fans without being copped as Ireland’s injured goalkeeper.

“I had face paint on and probably was a bit tipsy,” he said. “All the fans I saw were brilliant; they were immense.”

Elliot said it was brilliant to be a fan again. “You don’t get that opportunity very often in football,” he continued.

“I really relished it. It’s something that I’ll always remember. It could have been different but I still had a great time.”

The 30-year-old is unlikely to be Newcastle’s No.1 come the start of the Championship season but he should be pushing for that position again once he gets fully fit. Club first, country next. One milestone at a time.

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