Euro 2016: Irish supporters to be felicitated for "exemplary sportsmanship"
In a move that comes as a pleasant surprise, the mayor of Paris has announced an imminent felicitation of the Irish supporters. Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced on Tuesday that the wonderful and “exemplary sportsmanship” of the Irish supporters has won the hearts of the country in general during a competition otherwise marred with various controversies.
Martin O'Neill, Robbie Keane and the CEO of Football Association of Ireland, John Delaney all praised the Republic of Ireland fans following their return to Dublin after losing out to France in the knockout rounds in the UEFA Euro 2016.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart and all the players’ hearts, thanks for supporting us and the journey is only beginning with these young players,” said Martin O' Neil.
FAI CEO John Delaney added, “There is nothing more emotional and fantastic than when you face the tri-colour abroad and we did that on the playing fields of France and our supporters – the best ambassadors this country will ever have.”
The Irish supporters have added a jovial edge to the tournament as they were frequently seen and recorded doing absolutely marvellous things. In the midst of rising violence between the supporters of Russia and England, the Irish have steadfastly maintained their brawny, good-natured cheer by cleaning up roads, adorably serenading local women and singing lullabies to babies on the subway.
The supporters have certainly been a credit to their country.
A beautiful open letter to the Irish written by Frenchman Olivier Sauton shows how successful they were in actually making friends with people of various nationalities.
“You do honour to your country, your people, to your ancestors. Even drunk, you're a gentleman. Even with your belly sticking over your shirt, you have class.
Even defeated, you're in good spirits. I love you, the Irish, and I think I am telling the truth when I say the whole France that has fallen under your charm,” the letter said.
Although Antoine Griezmann and the in-form French team ended Ireland's run in the tournament, the Irish took the defeat in their stride and with good grace. As the open letter concluded, “You can be proud. Because the Euro is not over and yet you've already won.”
The medal will be presented at a ceremony on a date which is yet to be announced.