Here we go again, the road to Euro 2020 kicked off in earnest at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday night, with Ireland taking on Denmark in the Nations League. It was the first competitive home game since the heavy playoff defeat at the hands of the same opposition 11 months ago. Game 1 of the Nations League saw Ireland succumb to a 4-1 defeat to Wales in Cardiff.
Although this new format of international football is a route to the European Championships in 2020, it isn’t the be all and end all for Ireland. The draw for the Euro 2020 qualifiers takes place in Dublin on December 2nd, where the Boys in Green will find out their route to the championships. Match-day 1 and 2 of the qualifiers will take place before the end of the current season, with plenty of work to do before then.
But for the fans, they saw this game as a new opportunity, a new chapter of Irish football beginning, with the same match-day traditions being held.
There’s no better feeling than waking up on a match-day. The Jersey is ready, the lucky scarf around your neck and away you go. You take the Dart to Landsdowne Road, the bright lights of the Aviva Stadium can be seen from a distance and they raise the hairs on the back of your neck, you know it’s nearly time.
Before the game, you talk about the memories of games gone by and what the future holds. The atmosphere begins to build from Bath Avenue, as you take the walk down Landsdowne Road. The sound of horns, the cries of ‘hats, scarves and headbands’, and the smell of freshly cooked burgers all too familiar.
You go through the turnstile, and as you walk up the stairs you can hear the Green Army, ready for battle. When the teams emerge from the tunnel, you can only imagine the immense amount of pride the players are feeling representing the shirt, the flag, the fans. When Amhrán na bhFiann begins to play, your heart begins to race that little bit faster, and when that first whistle goes, nothing else in the world matters for 90 minutes.
Win, lose or draw, always behind our team. Come On You Boys In Green.