Last Saturday, Ireland were beaten by a single goal by France in the first leg of a world cup qualifier. Tonight, in Paris, the Irish play the second leg with not to many people backing them to turn the fixture around , Ireland will attempt to reach their fourth world cup finals.
The previous three occasions, 1990, 1994, and 2002 were great moments in the history of a small country who have not had to much to shout about in the sporting arena over the years. Our best performance was a quarter final defeat at the hands of the host nation, Italy in 1990.
'94 was a disappointment despite beating Italy in the group phase. The Italians went on to lose the final on penalties.
Not many will forget South Korea in 2002. Roy Keane being told to leave the squad after he spoke out at the condition of the training facilities pre-tournament. Then there was the second round game where we outplayed a Spanish team only to be beaten on penalties.
If ever a nation needed something to cheer about well that time is now. To qualify would give the people something to look forward to as we find our country close to ruin with the government who were as much to blame for our demise as the bankers continuing to wield the axe on it's people.
So tonight I'm going to let my heart rule my head. I'm calling for the Irish players to give everything they have to get us a result which will send us to South Africa next Summer. Even if that means throwing caution to the wind at times in the pursuit of the ultimate prize.
Never before has the weight of the people of a nation rested in the hands of a few. And never before could a result of a match mean so much to those of a decent disposition here in Ireland.
Prediction. ~ France 1 Ireland 2.