There is still a lot of Irish connections at Euro 2020

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In early 2020, the future of Irish football looked promising, we had made the knockout rounds of Euro 2020 qualifying and set to host four games for the competition. A year onwards our involvement in the Euros is small, but there is some ‘Irish’ we can cheer for

After devastating losing on penalties to Slovakia, we knew that the boys in green would not play at Euro 2020.

In April 2021, Ireland could not guarantee a 25% attendance at its matches, so Dublin’s Aviva Stadium also withdrew from hosting the tournament.

The group stage and knockout matches meant to be in Dublin were replaced with venues in England and Russia.

Between players and performers, Ireland still has some representation at the competition. It may even help you to decide who to cheer for in the rest of the competition.

Where are the Irish?

Ireland has been involved in the competition long before the first ball was kicked. Two members of the band U2 have helped make the official Euro 2020 song.

Bono and the Edge, along with Martin Garrix wrote the song ‘We Are The People’ for the competition. Many fans love the catchy and emotional tune with it being compared to Zara Larsson’s ‘This One’s For You’ in 2016.

 

The Players at Euro 2020

England

It is well known that there are a lot of family ties between Ireland and England which can even be seen in the Three lions’ new golden generation.

Starting with their captain, Harry Kane could have chosen to play for Ireland back in 2014. The talismanic striker’s father, Patrick Kane, was from Galway.

In the heart of their defence, Harry Maguire also has links to Ireland through his grandparents.

One that stings for Irish fans still is Jack Grealish who has connections in Dublin. He even managed to pick up Ireland’s U21 Player of the Year award in 2015.

Another central defender Conor Coady has Irish grandparents. It makes sense since he has the same second name as Irelands greatest GAA manager.

Most recently, Declan Rice through grandparents from Cork played three friendlies for Ireland before choosing to play for England.

Each of those five English players will have a big impact on their run in Euro 2020 knock out rounds. Although, that probably will not make them any more popular on Irish shores.

Rest of Europe

A vital part of Denmark’s challenge in the Round of 16 will be their midfielder, Thomas Delaney.

His great-grandfather moved from Ireland to the USA after the famine making him eligible for both countries, but instead, he chose to play for his native Denmark.

 

An unexpected one that many haven’t heard of is Wales’ young defender, Ethan Ampadu. His father Kwame played for Ireland U21s back in the early 1990s having been raised in Dublin.

Now, Ampadu will be hoping that Wales get past the Round of 16 next week against Denmark after he was sent off in their last game against Italy.

 

Finland has been one of the sides that Europe has fallen in love with at the tournament. Sadly, we will not see them anymore after a dramatic last day in Group B, losing to Belgium.

They showcased some great defence talent including young centre back Daniel O’Shaughnessy whose father is from Galway.

 

Referees

Sadly no, Ireland does not have any referees or linesmen officiating at Euro 2020.

Instead, Michelle O’Neill will represent Ireland by refereeing matches at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games in July.

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