Ireland made a disappointing start to their Euro 2012 campaign in Poland when they were beaten 3-1 by Croatia last Sunday.
There were mixed reactions on the streets of Clonmel this week to the team’s performance and their prospects for the remaining games against Spain on this Thursday night and Italy next Monday night.
Paddy Turner, a soccer supporter all his life and someone whose name is synonymous with Clonmel Town FC, says he was extremely disappointed with the team and manager Giovanni Trapattoni. He also believes that goalkeeper Shay Given isn’t fully fit after his recent injury problems.
He criticised the decision to bring on a centre forward, Simon Cox, as substitute and play him wide when there were two very good wingers (James McClean and Stephen Hunt) on the bench.
“We were found out as well. We’re not as bad as that but we’re only average really”.
Paddy doesn’t believe we have any chance against either Spain or Italy.
He says it’s a very open tournament and is hoping that Russia can go all the way and be crowned champions because he has them backed at 20/1.
Peter Barry thought that both teams (Ireland and Croatia) were bad but that we still could have got a draw out of the game.
“It went wrong all over the pitch. Nothing went right. We were lucky in the qualifiers when the luck was with us but it was bound to run out at some stage. We’re not good enough. I don’t think Croatia are going to do any good either.
The substitutions weren’t bad, what has he got on the bench anyway? However he should have played James McClean. When somebody with that talent is there there’s not much point holding onto him as a sub.
I reckon we’ll get a draw against Spain but I guarantee that Italy will beat us and that’ll be the end of it”.
Cammy Healy rates Croatia as one of the best teams in Europe over the last number of years.
He said the problem facing Ireland now is that Spain and Italy will need to go for goals because they have only one apiece so far while Croatia have three. Because of that he thought it looked bleak for Ireland.
He was pleased at least that the supporters gave the team plenty of backing - “the Irish always have great supporters and they’re always optimistic”.
“I thought the game was fairly bad and we never played that well”, was the verdict of Warren Kiely. “When Croatia got the second goal that was the killer”.
Warren thinks we might have a chance against Italy because their team is really old but he’s not holding out much hope for a win against Spain, although he hopes we might take a point from them.
“I just think we did badly overall and the supporters didn’t get behind the team enough either”.
Ming Cheung from the Emperor Palace Chinese restaurant thought the Crotia game was boring but was pleased that the Irish supporters were enjoying themselves in Poland.
He thought that a lack of experience told against Ireland. Facing Spain he believes Ireland should go out with the intention of enjoying the game, although he thinks they have a slight chance against Italy.