The Republic of Ireland’s Most Memorable Play-Offs
November 7, 2017 (No Comments) by Evan Coughlan

Well, somehow we’ve done it again. After the disappointment of Ireland’s World Cup qualifying matches in September, it looked very unlikely that the boys in green would be in the mix for a World Cup play-off come November. Lo and behold, after Scotland did us a favour by beating Slovakia and then drawing with Slovenia, we were now in with a chance of getting a play-off spot.

Now, all we had to do was beat Wales in Cardiff and our play-off spot was secure; no small feat, mind you. After a beautiful run by Jeff Hendrick and the sweetest of strikes from Jimmy McClean, we overcame the Bale’s boys and secured our names in the play-off pot. Ireland fans all over the country began celebrating as if we’d qualified for the World Cup itself.

serbia-v-republic-of-ireland-2

Ireland have become familiar visitors to World Cup and European Championship play-offs over the past twenty-five years. We have featured in seven play-offs across these two competitions and have suffered both heartbreak and triumph in equal measure. So we at The Sharpe thought we’d take a look at some of Ireland’s highlights and lowlights from past play-offs. Let’s get straight into it.

Ireland vs. France: 2010 World Cup Play-Off

Sorry for making you relive it, but we had to start with this one. Probably the most infamous match featuring the Irish Football Team ever took place in the Stade de France almost 8 years ago to the day.

Ireland had seen an upturn in fortunes after Giovanni Trapattoni’s appointment in 2008 and although Ireland never impressed in the group stages, we managed to secure a play-off place against 2006 World Cup runners up, France.

La Main De Thierry Henry

The first leg in Dublin was largely uneventful, with France dominating the match for long spells and having a goal ruled out for offside. They eventually broke down Ireland’s resolve thanks to a deflected strike from Nicolas Anelka and won the match 1-0. Now Ireland needed a big performance to come from behind in Paris. In what was one the best footballing performances by an Irish team ever, Ireland dominated the second leg. Robbie Keane put Ireland 1-0 up after a great cross from Damien Duff and Ireland had many chances to put the tie to bed in normal time.

With the aggregate score-line at 1-1, extra-time ensued; then 13 minutes into extra time it happened. France had a free kick that they floated into the box. Missed by Irish defenders it popped up for Thierry Henry, who controlled the ball with his hand and then crossed the ball for William Gallas to score, putting France back in the lead. France saw out the late Irish charge and won the play-off and their place at the 2010 World Cup. What came next can only be described as an absolute shitstorm.

Every player, ex-player, manager, pundit, newspaper and person in the country had an opinion on what should be done. Should ‘the match be replayed?’, ‘France thrown out of the World Cup?’, ‘Henry banned from the game?’, ‘Ireland become the 33rd team at the World Cup?’.

Eventually nothing was done, the match couldn’t be replayed. The decision was final and the FAI who had been protesting about the result became strangely quiet on the whole subject (cough ‘brown envelope job’ cough). Ireland didn’t go the 2010 World Cup, in probably the cruellest way possible and the Irish fans were left wondering what might have been.

Ireland vs. Bosnia: Euros 2016 Play-Off

Now to a much happier play-off memory for Irish fans. After the departure of Giovanni Trapattoni, the FAI turned to Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane to spearhead the Irish team towards Euro 2016 in France. After a rather eventful group, where the boys in green gathered 4 points off of world champions Germany in between frustrating results against Poland and Scotland, Ireland finished third in their group which was enough to get us to a play-off.

For this play-off we were drawn against Edin Dzeko’s Bosnia-Herzegovina. Despite being drawn against the highest ranked team in the play-off, confidence among Irish fans was extremely high, due to the victory over Germany a month prior.

Prior to the first leg, there had been reports that fog could threaten the playing of the game. However, prior to kick-off the fog seemingly cleared away and the match got underway. The match showcased a great defensive performance by the Irish side. But as the second half began the fog had returned leaving the match pretty much unwatchable on TV.

In one of the strangest Irish football matches to ever take place, in the fog, Ireland managed to take an away goal back to the Aviva for the second leg. In the second leg, Ireland dominated from the off. Jon Walters had arguably his greatest day in a green jersey as he scored twice to ensure Ireland qualified for the European Championships in France the following summer.

Ireland vs. Holland: Euros 1996 Play-Off

Now to Ireland’s first ever play-off. In 1995 Jack Charlton’s Ireland finished second in their group behind Portugal. After an encouraging start to qualifying, including a win at home to Portugal, the wheels slowly started to fall off. For qualifying in Euro ’96, the eight teams who finished second in their group were ranked, with the six best teams qualifying automatically. Ireland unfortunately finished bottom of this group and would have to face off against the Netherlands in a one legged play-off at Anfield in December 1995.

The Dutch team that Ireland faced that night on Merseyside was filled big names like Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars, Clarence Seedorf, Edwin Van de Saar and Edgar Davids. Ireland were without the services of Roy Keane and Steve Staunton due to injury and Niall Quinn was suspended. The Dutch completely outclassed the Irish team that night, with their pace and power. A young Patrick Kluivert scored two goals to end Jack Charlton’s tenure as Irish manager.

Big Jack’s Swansong

The Irish fans that filled the Kop at Anfield that night realised that they were witnessing the final moments of Big Jack’s reign and responded by singing tribute to Charlton for the final few minutes. After the match was over Charlton returned to the pitch and bid an emotional farewell to Irish fans.

Final Word

Ireland’s history in play-offs has been eventful to say the least, and after looking back at some of our past play-off glories and disappointments from years gone by, one thing is for certain. The play-off against Denmark will live long in the memory of Irish football fans, no matter the result. If your happen to be part of the travelling faithful or are lucky enough to have grabbed a golden away ticket, we have you covered with our ultimate guide to Copenhagen!

Evan Coughlan
Writes about sport and stuff. When Evan thinks of a witty comment it will appear here.

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The Republic of Ireland’s Most Memorable Play-Offs
November 7, 2017 (No Comments) by Evan Coughlan

Well, somehow we’ve done it again. After the disappointment of Ireland’s World Cup qualifying matches in September, it looked very unlikely that the boys in green would be in the mix for a World Cup play-off come November. Lo and behold, after Scotland did us a favour by beating Slovakia and then drawing with Slovenia, we were now in with a chance of getting a play-off spot.

Now, all we had to do was beat Wales in Cardiff and our play-off spot was secure; no small feat, mind you. After a beautiful run by Jeff Hendrick and the sweetest of strikes from Jimmy McClean, we overcame the Bale’s boys and secured our names in the play-off pot. Ireland fans all over the country began celebrating as if we’d qualified for the World Cup itself.

serbia-v-republic-of-ireland-2

Ireland have become familiar visitors to World Cup and European Championship play-offs over the past twenty-five years. We have featured in seven play-offs across these two competitions and have suffered both heartbreak and triumph in equal measure. So we at The Sharpe thought we’d take a look at some of Ireland’s highlights and lowlights from past play-offs. Let’s get straight into it.

Ireland vs. France: 2010 World Cup Play-Off

Sorry for making you relive it, but we had to start with this one. Probably the most infamous match featuring the Irish Football Team ever took place in the Stade de France almost 8 years ago to the day.

Ireland had seen an upturn in fortunes after Giovanni Trapattoni’s appointment in 2008 and although Ireland never impressed in the group stages, we managed to secure a play-off place against 2006 World Cup runners up, France.

La Main De Thierry Henry

The first leg in Dublin was largely uneventful, with France dominating the match for long spells and having a goal ruled out for offside. They eventually broke down Ireland’s resolve thanks to a deflected strike from Nicolas Anelka and won the match 1-0. Now Ireland needed a big performance to come from behind in Paris. In what was one the best footballing performances by an Irish team ever, Ireland dominated the second leg. Robbie Keane put Ireland 1-0 up after a great cross from Damien Duff and Ireland had many chances to put the tie to bed in normal time.

With the aggregate score-line at 1-1, extra-time ensued; then 13 minutes into extra time it happened. France had a free kick that they floated into the box. Missed by Irish defenders it popped up for Thierry Henry, who controlled the ball with his hand and then crossed the ball for William Gallas to score, putting France back in the lead. France saw out the late Irish charge and won the play-off and their place at the 2010 World Cup. What came next can only be described as an absolute shitstorm.

Every player, ex-player, manager, pundit, newspaper and person in the country had an opinion on what should be done. Should ‘the match be replayed?’, ‘France thrown out of the World Cup?’, ‘Henry banned from the game?’, ‘Ireland become the 33rd team at the World Cup?’.

Eventually nothing was done, the match couldn’t be replayed. The decision was final and the FAI who had been protesting about the result became strangely quiet on the whole subject (cough ‘brown envelope job’ cough). Ireland didn’t go the 2010 World Cup, in probably the cruellest way possible and the Irish fans were left wondering what might have been.

Ireland vs. Bosnia: Euros 2016 Play-Off

Now to a much happier play-off memory for Irish fans. After the departure of Giovanni Trapattoni, the FAI turned to Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane to spearhead the Irish team towards Euro 2016 in France. After a rather eventful group, where the boys in green gathered 4 points off of world champions Germany in between frustrating results against Poland and Scotland, Ireland finished third in their group which was enough to get us to a play-off.

For this play-off we were drawn against Edin Dzeko’s Bosnia-Herzegovina. Despite being drawn against the highest ranked team in the play-off, confidence among Irish fans was extremely high, due to the victory over Germany a month prior.

Prior to the first leg, there had been reports that fog could threaten the playing of the game. However, prior to kick-off the fog seemingly cleared away and the match got underway. The match showcased a great defensive performance by the Irish side. But as the second half began the fog had returned leaving the match pretty much unwatchable on TV.

In one of the strangest Irish football matches to ever take place, in the fog, Ireland managed to take an away goal back to the Aviva for the second leg. In the second leg, Ireland dominated from the off. Jon Walters had arguably his greatest day in a green jersey as he scored twice to ensure Ireland qualified for the European Championships in France the following summer.

Ireland vs. Holland: Euros 1996 Play-Off

Now to Ireland’s first ever play-off. In 1995 Jack Charlton’s Ireland finished second in their group behind Portugal. After an encouraging start to qualifying, including a win at home to Portugal, the wheels slowly started to fall off. For qualifying in Euro ’96, the eight teams who finished second in their group were ranked, with the six best teams qualifying automatically. Ireland unfortunately finished bottom of this group and would have to face off against the Netherlands in a one legged play-off at Anfield in December 1995.

The Dutch team that Ireland faced that night on Merseyside was filled big names like Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars, Clarence Seedorf, Edwin Van de Saar and Edgar Davids. Ireland were without the services of Roy Keane and Steve Staunton due to injury and Niall Quinn was suspended. The Dutch completely outclassed the Irish team that night, with their pace and power. A young Patrick Kluivert scored two goals to end Jack Charlton’s tenure as Irish manager.

Big Jack’s Swansong

The Irish fans that filled the Kop at Anfield that night realised that they were witnessing the final moments of Big Jack’s reign and responded by singing tribute to Charlton for the final few minutes. After the match was over Charlton returned to the pitch and bid an emotional farewell to Irish fans.

Final Word

Ireland’s history in play-offs has been eventful to say the least, and after looking back at some of our past play-off glories and disappointments from years gone by, one thing is for certain. The play-off against Denmark will live long in the memory of Irish football fans, no matter the result. If your happen to be part of the travelling faithful or are lucky enough to have grabbed a golden away ticket, we have you covered with our ultimate guide to Copenhagen!

Evan Coughlan
Writes about sport and stuff. When Evan thinks of a witty comment it will appear here.

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