Football | 1 week ago

Unflinching.

Often, a bigger deal than required is made out of a team's participation in their pre-match national anthem.

Just because a player doesn't put his vocal cords under serious pressure, during the anthem, while making all kinds of facial expressions doesn't mean that they can't be a passionate ball of fire when the game begins.

It doesn't mean they don't care. Maybe they like to remain calm, stone-faced and nonplussed.

If a player does well up while belting out the words at the top of their voices, it's a guarantee that the player is fired up, is aware of the honour they have in representing their country and is ready for action.

In one of Ireland's most important, defining matches in a long time, you just knew well the Aviva stadium was going to erupt from the moment Amhrán na bhFiann began.

Some of the players displayed this passion. Others remained calm. The fans, though, every single soul in the Landsdowne Road stadium was roaring (Perhaps none more so than the man at 0:17 in this video.)

Stephen Ward followed suit, as did David Meyler, but nobody displayed as much passion as that Derry dinger James McClean, who, standing tall, stared deep into the distance and sang every word with such unfailing conviction.

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It was nearly as hair-raising as that famous 2001 night when Ireland defeated Louis Van Gaal's Holland in Landsdowne road to keep their World Cup qualification hopes alive.

Video credit: boylerceltic

The passion boiled over to the field of play, with Ireland flying out of the blocks to score a fifth minute goal through Shane Duffy's cherished head.

Disaster struck, however, when Cyrus Christie was unlucky to give an own goal after 29 minutes, and Christian Eriksen added to the misery ten minutes later.

It all means we need two in the second half to qualify.

While you're here, check out the latest episode of #SportsJOElive where we had Irish legends Shay Given and Clinton Morrison on the couch!


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Republic of Ireland, #COYBIG