The hand of fate, or the hand of Thierry Henry, hangs over the boys in green today as they take on Croatia in what I hope will be an exciting match that breaks hearts in Zagreb. My father-in-law, a Galway man, has been waiting in wonderous expectation all weekend – like a child waits for Christmas morning. The Gods don’t often grant Irish football prayers, but when they do it is a beautiful as a rainbow (Houghton’s header in 1988, the defeat of Italy in 1994).
So here is the hope that Luka Modric sleeps with the fishes. That Shay slays them and the lads give us a good day out. That the Druids work their special ancient magic and joyous-jumping-on-the-chair-vaulting-over-the-bar-and-kissing-the-barmaid victory is won. That winning on the international stage be a notion once again.