- Lifestyle & Sports
- 13 Oct 17
The Hot Press contributing editor had an up-and-close and personal insight as Martin O'Neill's charges commenced a remarkable weekend
I headed to the Aviva last Friday, writes Paul Nolan, far more in hope than expectation, about what lay in-store for the Irish football team over the next few days. Singer Brian Brody – who is currently the official warm-up man at Irish games – delivered a brilliant and stirring pre-match performance, including Thin Lizzy's classic 'Dancing In The Moonlight' . It set the scene perfectly for the evening.
Looking around the stadium after he finished, there was a fervour in the crowd that made you believe the impossible might just be on – and that Martin O'Neill's men could actually win the two games. During the match itself, there was something about the way the crowd reacted and the team celebrated Daryl Murphy's second goal – following a brilliant flowing move involving Wes Hoolahan and Stephen Ward – that suggested the team had really found itself again after a disappointing year.
In the interview beforehand, both Brian and I observed that we wanted the team to throw the kitchen sink at the two upcoming games, and that is exactly what they did. They were performances built around the classic Irish traits of resolve and fighting spirit – qualities that I think are also embodied in Brian's performance and the fans' reaction to it.
Here's to the play-offs!