“DENMARK brought home the bacon and we made a pig’s ear of it”.
The reaction of Limerick man Mike Ryan, South Circular Road, who was among hordes of fans watching Ireland’s World Cup playoff defeat to Denmark on Tuesday night.
It was standing room only at the Glen Tavern on Lower Glentworth Street in Limerick as Ireland tried to reach a first World Cup finals since 2002.
And despite some early optimism when defender Shane Duffy scored after only six minutes, five goals without reply from the Danes ensured the Irish World Cup bid ended in tears.
”We were brilliant for the first ten minutes, but for the rest of the game, we were like headless chickens,” was city centre man Gary Noone’s assessment.
“Perhaps we’re better off not going any further. It would save us the humiliation.”
Speaking mid-way through the second half, with the score poised at 2-1, and Ireland needing two goals to go through, an exasperated bar owner Ger Callanan asked: “Can we even get the ball off them? If it weren’t for [goalkeeper Darren] Randolph, this game would be over already.”
Sadly for Ireland, it was over a few minutes later, after Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen curled in a third goal.
”He’d better play like this against Arsenal on Saturday,” laughed Tottenham fan Danny Mulcahy. “This is the first time I’ve never celebrated an Eriksen goal.”
Jamie Enright, cut a disappointed figure at the final whistle.
He said: “To go 1-0 up after six minutes and then have everything fall apart, it’s hard to take. I think when we score so early, we don’t have a plan B. A lot of guys in midfield like [Jeff] Hendrick and [Robbie] Brady were anonymous for most of the game. I don’t think there will be any post-mortems in the morning. It was 5-1 – we were well beaten. I doubt Paddy Power will have to pay out on this!”
Danny Ryan, 19, and his dad Mike won a competition on Twitter for free pints and food in the Glen Tavern during the game. Sadly, that’s all they had to celebrate.
”It’s very disappointing. We were so poor defensively, and we made immature mistakes,” Danny said.
His father added: “The difference here is they have a world class player, and we don’t have any premier class players.”
Bar owner Ger said the atmosphere when Ireland are in the final of a tournament is incredible.
“From the Euros a couple of years ago, there was such a good feeling. We had a great diversity of teams. You had the Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, and English of course. And us. There was great camaraderie, and people were booking tables well in advance of games. We’ll still enjoy next summer. But there’s nothing like being there ourselves,” he said.
At least Ireland are in good company when it comes to missing out on World Cup 2018 – Italy, the Netherlands and the USA will also not be heading to Russia.
Bettine Gommer from the Dutch city of Amsterdam said: “I guess the best teams are staying at home this World Cup, I think that’s what is happening here.”
But there will at least be one group of people not left totally unhappy at Tuesday’s result.
“At least wives will not have a World Cup with Ireland in it to contend with next summer. They will have their husbands around,” said one punter – who did not wish to be named!