Category: Uncategorized

Potential drastic changes planned to League of Ireland structure

The League of Ireland could switch to an eight-team Premier Division from 2021 — under a proposal made by a working group.

A document was presented to all Airtricity League clubs at the Aviva Stadium over the last week which has some revolutionary proposals.

The group was set up at a July workshop facilitated by the FAI to look at all options for the future of the league.

That included plans submitted by Niall Quinn and Kieran Lucid.

Indeed, Lucid’s all-island proposal does have support among clubs and the working group did include it as an option to be considered.

But they also presented their own proposals.

The first is an eight-team top flight that would split after four rounds of games.

The top four would then fight for the Euro spots and the bottom four to avoid relegation and a play-off.

A 12-team First Division would also split after two rounds with the top six vying for promotion and a play-off spot.

The second option is the same for the top flight, though the First Division would be regionalised with the top two from north and south going into knockout play-offs.

A third is the most radical, with two ten-team divisions playing two rounds of games in the first half of the season.

But there would then be a split into three divisions — a top six ‘Championship’, an eight-team promotion-relegation section of the bottom four of the Premier and top four of the First and a six-team First Division ‘Plate’.

The discussion document says that who should run the league — the FAI, clubs themselves, an outside group or a mixture of all three — is still being investigated.

Potential revenue streams are to be identified with television rights and “data, digital and international streaming rights” highlighted for growth.

 

 

 

 

Premier League round-up: Hendrick bags Burnley belter but no luck for Irish-laden Sheffield United

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE WEEKEND ROUND-UP (with an Irish perspective):

On the day he marked his 100th appearance for Burnley, Dubliner Jeff Hendrick smashed in a last minute, first-time 25 yard daisycutter to equalize for Burnley at the Amex Stadium against Brighton on Saturday evening when it seemed certain that Seán Dyche’s side were doomed to a narrow defeat.

The result sees Burnley move to five points from five Premier League matches this season and the Clarets sit in 14th place in the Premier League table.

There was no luck at Bramall Lane for Irish-laden Sheffield United (who possess four Republic of Ireland internationals, including Cork native John Egan in the first team) as an incredible run from Southampton‘s Moussa Djenepo midway through the second-half saw the Saints plunder all three points yesterday.

The Mali international got the ball fully 40 yards from the home team’s goal. He proceeded to round four would-be tacklers, stay on his feet when others would certainly have gone to ground and placed the ball past Henderson for a cracking goal, though it’s a goal which will worry Blades’ boss Chris Wilder.

Egan frustrated

Sheffield United had a goal disallowed by McBurnie because John Egan (who was offside) had attempted to head the ball (though McBurnie himself was not offside) and Egan’s action was judged by VAR to have been an “active” offside infringement.

While Sheffield United had chances and were disappointed to have goalscoring talisman Billy Sharp sent off late on, Southampton also had plenty of chances and Vidal had a majestic shot from the edge of the box which hit the butt of the Blades’ post from the edge of the box in the first-half.

In Saturday’s early kick-off, Liverpool made it five wins from five Premier League starts and moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League thanks to a 3-1 win over Newcastle United at Anfield.

The visitors took the lead through a cracking strike from Dutch international Villems who smashed the ball into the top corner of the home net on seven minutes to score his first goal for the club on his third (loan) appearance.

Liverpool’s Premier League rivals may have hoped to have spotted a potential issue brewing at Anfield before the international break when Sadio Mané made a very public point of expressing his dissatisfaction with Mohamed Salah, when the Egyptian failed to pass to him during the 3-0 win over Burnley.

Salah however sent out the ultimate modern-day olive branch in the form of a meme of the pair hugging.

By full-time at Anfield yesterday, the only question surrounding Liverpool’s stellar front three is how any side in Europe can hope to keep them quiet.

Mané’s first goal was a top class finish from a tight angle into the top corner following good work by Robertson. The Senegalese international’s second came from a through ball from Firmino which split the visitor’s defense, Mané was initially foiled by Dubravka but he tapped the rebound into the empty net before Salah sealed the win following a fantastic one-two between the Egyptian and Firmino which took the Newcastle defense out of the game before Salah finished past the hapless advancing Newcastle goalkeeper who was arguably man-of-the-match.

At Old Trafford, Manchester United did enough to overcome Leicester City thanks to an early Marcus Rashford penalty, with the 21 year-old also winning the penalty having been upended by Çağlar Söyüncü.

Rashford showed admirable composure in sending opposition goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way as the last penalty he took he missed when hitting the post.

Both sides had chances following the ninth minute opener with Rashford coming the closest to adding to the score with a 30 yard free-kick which clipped Schmeichel’s crossbar.

Pukki

The shock of the weekend – and indeed the shock of the Premier League season – happened at Carrow Road as Norwich City overcame champions Manchester City.

The newly promoted home side were missing eight first-team players but took full advantage of a performance from the reigning champions that was careless in the extreme and characterized by haphazard defending.

Norwich were 2-0 up inside half-an-hour after Kenny McLean rose unmarked to meet Emiliano Buendia’s corner and then Todd Cantwell finished a flowing move involving Marco Stiepermann and Teemu Pukki.

Sergio Aguero’s header just before the break hinted at a Manchester City comeback but a misunderstanding between John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi saw Buendia rob the Argentina centre-back and set up Pukki to score.

Rodri scored his first goal for Manchester City on 88 minutes before referee Kevin Friend’s final whistle was the cue for wild celebrations at Carrow Road.

There was a goal-heavy game at Molineux as Wolves were overwhelmed 2-5 by Chelsea.

The visitors took the lead through an incredible first-time 35 yard strike from Tomori which was his first shot in the Premier League.

Tammy Abraham made it 0-2 following confusion in the home box with the goal being Chelsea’s eighth of the season, each of which scored by an English player aged 21 or under.

Chelsea went three up shortly before half-time following a good header from Abraham.

The England international completed his hat-trick ten minutes into the second-half, when he received the ball 35 yards from goal, rounded a tackle before finishing from a tight angle for another fine goal for the (young) Pensioners.

Wolves pulled two back late on, ironically one of which being an Abraham own goal, but those goals were too little, too late and Mount sealed the rout with another well-worked goal deep into injury-time, though the goals that had preceded it for Chelsea had been of such quality that this one seemed ordinary by comparison!

Tottenham meanwhile ran roughshod against a ragged Crystal Palace, with Son Heung-min the star of the show for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

Son starred in the North London sunshine as his double inspired Spurs to a 4-0 rout.

The first goal was a cracker; after Alderweireld played a ball over the top which found the South Korean who turned two men inside out before finishing with composure from 15 yards out.

The third (Son’s second) was the pick of the four as Aurier played a lofty ball to the back post which Son finished first time from a very tight angle on the volley into the far corner.

Sunday’s action saw no joy for Republic of Ireland and Everton captain Séamus Coleman.

Callum Wilson took advantage of an abysmal defensive performance from Everton to score twice in a 3-1 home win for Bournemouth.

In a tight affair involving two evenly matched teams it was the Toffees’ sticky defending that cost them, firstly allowing Wilson to net midway through the first-half after failing to deal with a set-piece.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin notched his first goal in 13 games to level it up just before half-time but a Ryan Fraser free-kick from the left was deflected past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford by Fabian Delph to hand the Cherries the lead on 66 minutes.

Wilson then seized upon some more disorganization in the Everton backline with a lobbed finish over Pickford to secure Bournemouth’s first home win of the season in the closing stages.

 

The most entertaining game of the weekend was arguably the last game of the weekend at Vicarage Road which saw Watford host Arsenal.

Arsenal threw away a 0-2 lead through defensive errors as Quique Sanchez Flores’ side earned a 2-2 draw in the first game of his second spell in charge of the Hornets.

A typically expert finish from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had Arsenal ahead despite Watford’s calls for a foul in the build-up, and the Gabon striker made it 2-0 shortly after with a simple finish from a fine Gunners move just past the half-hour mark.

Watford halved the deficit just after the break through Tom Cleverley as Sokratis was caught playing out from the back and Arsenal shot themselves in the foot again as David Luiz tripped sub Roberto Pereyra in the area, and he dispatched the penalty with aplomb ten minutes from full-time.

Tomorrow night, Aston Villa, with Cork’s Conor Hourihane in their ranks host West Ham United.

 

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE 2019-’20:

GP W D L F A GD P
5 5 0 0 15 4 11 15
5 3 1 1 16 6 10 10
5 2 2 1 11 6  5 8
5 2 2 1 8 4  4 8
5 2 2 1 6 4  2 8
5 2 2 1 11 11 0 8
5 2 2 1 8 8 0 8
5 2 1 2 8 9 -1 7
4 2 1 1 6 7 -1 7
5 2 1 2 5 6 -1 7
5 2 1 2 5 7 -2 7
5 2 1 2 3 6 -3 7
5 2 0 3 9 12 -3 6
5 1 2 2 6 7 -1 5
5 1 2 2 5 6 -1 5
5 1 2 2 5 8 -3 5
5 1 1 3 4 8 -4 4
4 1 0 3 4 6 -2 3
5 0 3 2 6 10 -4 3
5 0 2 3 4 10 -6 2

Positions 1, 2, 3, 4: Champions League

Position 5: Europa League

Positions 18, 19, 20: Relegation

GLOSSARY

  • GP:Games Played
  • W:Wins
  • D:Draws
  • L:Losses
  • F:Goals For
  • A:Goals Against
  • GD:Goal Difference
  • P:Points

 

Cork’s John Egan to captain Republic of Ireland senior international football team

John Egan has been named as Republic of Ireland captain for tonight’s friendly match against Bulgaria at the Aviva Stadium.

The Sheffield United central defender will earn his third cap while fellow Corkonian Conor Hourihane will fill-in at left-back with Ireland manager Mick McCarthy believing the Aston Villa player – who usually plays in central midfield – has the attributes to adapt to the role.

Ireland have a vacancy in the position for next month’s UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier in Georgia as Enda Stevens will miss out due to suspension, having picked up a third yellow card of the qualifying campaign in the 1-1 draw against Switzerland last Thursday.

John Egan’s late father was Kerry GAA legend John Egan Senior, who won six All-Ireland senior football titles during his time as a player with the Kingdom.

Egan Junior was raised in Cork city where he grew up in Bishopstown as his father was based in Cork city as a garda, and he spoke at a press conference last week about his split GAA loyalties between the county he was raised in (he supports Cork in hurling) and that of his father (he supports Kerry in gaelic football).

He attended the drawn All-Ireland senior football final between Dublin and Kerry on September 1st, with Cork coincidentally winning the All-Ireland minor football final the same afternoon at the same venue (Croke Park).

That was the day after he had played for Sheffield United against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, where the Blades earned an excellent 2-2 draw having been 2-0 down at half-time to the five-time Premier League winners and reigning Europa League champions. Sheffield United – with four senior Republic of Ireland internationals, including Egan in their first team – now have five points from four Premier League games this season and are 10th in the Premier League table having started the season much better than most would have predicted.

Mick McCarthy: “Atmosphere tonight reminded me of the great days of my first Irish reign and Jack Charlton’s reign”

Mick McCarthy entered the press conference at Aviva Stadium with a broad smile and apparently cracking a joke with FAI Communications Director Cathal Dervan after tonight’s match.

McCarthy held court and started the post-match press conference by saying: “We’ve gotten a good point against a very good side. A team full of very good players, playing with very good clubs.

“I’ve got three lads in the middle of the park who have six games between them all season, but they’re the most experienced players we have so I went with them tonight.

“The atmosphere was fabulous and it was a great night. It reminded me of great nights during my previous reign and during Jack (Charlton’s) time in charge (of Ireland).

“I think the fans got right behind us. I’ve had really good will towards me and the players. People are starting to believe in the team again.

“The substitutions worked well when chasing the goal. I’m delighted for Didsy (David McGoldrick). It’s great getting a standing ovation when you come off but as a striker you want to score goals so I was delighted for him.

“I haven’t thought about Enda Stevens being suspended. We might bring in Steven Ward for next month’s matches.

“We might not be the best team in the group but they’ll have to put us down before we give up and that’s a wonderful trait to have in a team. My players are a great bunch of lads and they work extremely hard.

Mick was then asked, why do we create more chances when we’re 1-0 down?

Mick replied: “Well I did change shape (after the Switzerland goal) and that helped change things around and made us more offensive and dangerous.”

McCarthy said he wasn’t surprised that Switzerland played with virtually a seven-man attacking unit and stated once again: “They’re a very good team”.

McCarthy was then asked if he sees Switzerland being a lot better over there (in Switzerland) than they were here?

McCarthy: “Well if they’re a lot better over there than here then we’re going to have to circle the wagons a bit because they were pretty good here.

“We couldn’t play as attacking for the whole match as we did after we went behind. We were never going to go 4-4-2 and go gung-ho for the whole game. I think we took Switzerland by surprise with the way we came out and attacked them.”

McCarthy then mentioned that Shamrock Rovers’ Jack Byrne would be called up for the friendly versus Bulgaria at Aviva Stadium next Tuesday before the press conference was wrapped up.

Late McGolrdick header keeps Ireland’s Euro 2020 hopes very much alive

A superb late header from David McGoldrick kept Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for UEFA Euro 2020 very much alive.

It was a game which generally lacked quality but there was no lack of endeavor from either side.

The Swiss goal coming after 74 minutes was indeed a moment of high quality though. Five neat, one touch passes played Schär in and the centre-half finished with composure first time to the corner of the net from 15 yards out.

The Irish starting XI was as expected for this match on a chilly but pleasant night in Ballsbridge.

The unusual sight of smoke around the stadium to start the game.

Robinson puts pressure on Akanji who concedes a poor corner inside the first minute but it comes to nothing.

Switzerland dominate possession but create nothing in the first five minutes.

The game being played very much in Ireland’s half with a ball played across Ireland’s six yard box beating Duffy in the air but Mbolo took a poor first touch which allowed Duffy to clear.

Zakaria consistently being given far too much space through the middle.

On 10 minutes Keogh swipes at a clearance, hacking it over the crossbar and the resulting from AC Milan’s Rogdriguez has far too much air on it.

Ireland create the first chance of note of the match with Hendrick bursting through the middle 35 yards from goal and finding McClean in the box who is well tackled. The ball falls to the Derry man again who can’t generate much power with his left foot and the shot is quite comfortably saved by Sommer.

The first yellow card is given to Enda Stevens for a high boot on Mbabu on 13 minutes. The Sheffield United man will now miss Ireland’s next game.

McGoldrick is punished for a very slight push on Elvedi when it appeared the pair had come shoulder-to-shoulder some 30 yards from goal when McGoldrick looked to have been in on goal with the defender on the ground.

I wonder if the grass is longer than thought because balls seem to be holding up, especially when going back to the goalkeepers.

Ireland have to absorb considerable pressure with Duffy making a fantastic last ditch tackle to deny Seferovic before Keogh heads a cross into the six-yard box clear and Randolph is forced to punch clear moments later.

The ball is then launched forward by McClean for McGoldrick to chase but referee Grande from Spain blows for a very marginal foul from the forward midway through the first-half.

Duffy heads the ball clear and Rodriguez slices a volley well wide from the edge of the box when he was unmarked.

Whelan gives away a central free-kick 30 yards out for a foul on the advancing Schar when Switzerland were looking dangerous. The resulting free-kick from Arsenal’s Xhaka drifts a few yards out and a corner-kick is awarded.

The resulting corner-kick is fumbled by Randolph who had apparently fouled, the referee didn’t whistle though and the resulting rebound is blasted well over the crossbar.

Zakaria shoots from 25 yards on the 30th minute. The shot lacks pace and is straight into the arms of Randolph.

Ireland have a nice phase of passes in the Swiss final third, the ball falls to McGoldrick inside the ‘D’, he shoots, but his effort is deflected and is very easy for Sommer.

Ireland forced to absorb some pressure. The ball breaks from Whelan for Seferovic who forced a fine save from Randolph but the flag is (incorrectly) raised for offside.

Switzerland monopolizing possession with the game approaching the 40th minute.

Robinson is hurt by Zakaria and Ireland are awarded a free-kick 30 yards out and in line with the left edge of the Swiss penalty area. The Swiss hold a very high line on the edge of the ‘D’ with Hourihane’s ball played across the six-yard box narrowly evading everyone.

McClean goes on a burst just inside the Swiss half. He makes a 20 yard break with the ball but it gets stuck in his feet and he is dispossessed.

Another ball is played across the Irish six-yard box but Duffy dives and heads the ball powerfully away.

McGoldrick then bursts past the Swiss defender and enters the penalty area. He could shoot but decides to square for McClean who would have had a tap-in but there’s too much on the ball and it evades the Derry man. It’s definitely the best chance of the opening half.

Ireland finish the first half with a corner-kick. but Switzerland clear and the short whistle blows.

There’s no changes to either side to start the second-half.

Moment of worry for Ireland on 50 minutes as Schar surges forward, advancing fully 40 yards from deep in his own half before shooting from 30 yards but the shot goes high and wide.

Ireland win a free-kick in the right channel, 35 yards out from the Swiss goal. The Swiss clear the ball and break on the counter attack with Mbolo very nearly put in on goal with Stevens the only man back defending in front of Randolph’s goal but eventually Ireland get numbers back and the ball ends up in Randolph’s hands.

The crowd are in good spirits now with the crowd singing a rendition of “Stand up for the Boys in Green”.

Xhaka takes a free-kick near the Irish corner flag which is headed over the crossbar for a corner-kick and Freuler handles the ball.

Callum Robinson is called ashore after 57 minutes to be replaced by Alan Judge.

Let off for Ireland just past the hour mark when Embolo is put through on goal and slips just as he’s about to strike the ball from eight yards out – albeit at an angle.

Embolo dinks the ball to the back post but Alan Judge heads over when Rodriguez was behind him and all but certain to score were the ball to reach him. Switzerland dominating now with 64 minutes played.

Ireland finally create something in the second half with a McClean cross blocked for a corner-kick. The result corner-kick just evades Hendrick in the six-yard box.

Another dangerous ball across the Irish box is headed over the crossbar, right under the bar by Coleman on 68 minutes.

Shane Duffy goes down injured having won the ball well but following a bit of a skirmish involving a bunch of Swiss players, including Xhaka and Coleman prominently, Duffy is okay to continue.

Switzerland score a great goal with 15 minutes to play. The centre-half Schar bursting from deep once again. Four one-touch passes from Switzerland sees Schar in on goal and finishes first time from 15 yards into the corner of the net.

McGoldrick makes a good tackle to prevent the Swiss crossing into the Irish area but when you’re 0-1 down with 10 minutes left, you want your striker much further up the pitch.

Scott Hogan comes on for Conor Hourihane after 82 minutes as Ireland look to go for it.

McClean does very well to track a run from Mbolo when he would have been through on goal, albeit 45 yards from goal with seven minutes to play.

Whelan smashes one from 25 yards which Sommer does brilliantly to get onto the bar.

The ball goes out to McClean. He balloons the ball into the six yard box. McGoldrick is under it and he heads it to the net with five minutes to play.

Embolo is replaced by Albian Ajeti on 85 minutes.

The question has to be asked: why does it take going behind for Ireland to come on their shell and really look to attack in numbers?

David McGoldrick, having scored and put in yet another great shift is called ashore a minute into injury-time, to be replaced by Cork native Alan Browne.

There was a few skirmishes from there til the final whistle but it’s a very decent result for Ireland, especially having gone behind so late in the game.

Elsewhere in the group, Denmark made a lot easier work of Gibraltar than Ireland did, winning 0-6 in the tiny country.

 

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Randolph (Middlesbrough); Coleman (c) (Everton), Duffy (Brighton), Keogh (Derby County), Stevens (Sheffield United); Hendrick (Burnley), Whelan (Hearts), Hourihane (Aston Villa) (Hogan 82′); Robinson (Sheffield United) (Judge 57′), McGoldrick (Sheffield United) (Browne 91′), McClean (Stoke City)

SWITZERLAND: Sommer; Mbabu (Fernandes 94′), Schär, Elvedi, Akanji, Rodríguez; Zakaria, Freuler, Xhaka (c), Embolo (Ajeti), Seferovic

Vera Pauw appointed Republic of Ireland women’s national team manager

Vera Pauw has been announced as manager of the Republic of Ireland women’s team.

The former Dutch international was in the stands for the Republic’s 2-0 win over Montenegro in Euro 2021 qualifying.

Tom O’Connor, who was assistant to former manager Colin Bell, was in temporary charge for the game in Tallaght.

Pauw previously managed Scotland, the Netherlands, Russia and South Africa.

The 56-year-old was capped 89 times by her native country and was the first Dutch woman to play professionally outside the country when she signed for Italian side Modena in 1988.

She began her management career with Scotland in 1998 before she led the Netherlands to the European Championship Semi-Finals in 2009.

Pauw also coached American side Houston Dash and worked as an advisor to the Thailand FA.

“I am very excited at the prospect of managing the Republic of Ireland for the remainder of this European Championship campaign,” said Pauw, “I believe we can achieve very positive results together.

“I was impressed with what I saw against Montenegro and I want to wish Tom well for his future career and thank him for the excellent job he has done with the team in recent weeks.”

The Republic’s next Euro 2021 qualifier is against Ukraine on October 8th.

18 years on from a day of days

18 years ago today, one of my all-time favorite sporting moments/occasions (Republic of Ireland 1-0 Netherlands at Lansdowne Road) and undoubtedly my all-time favorite musical performance/gig took place. The musical performance/gig is of course “U2 Go Home”; that seminal performance from Bono (aka Paul Hewson) and the boys at Slane Casle in County Meath on September 1st, 2001.

I have referenced the match (Ireland 1-0 Netherlands) in detail in another article today, so this article will focus more on the U2 Slane gig, while also referencing the match from earlier in the day.

The two events are of course connected. The Edge (aka David Evans) and Larry Mullen Junior both attended the match at Lansdowne Road on the day and an hour after the final whistle took a private helicopter to the banks of the River Boyne so as to be on time for that night’s gig (now that is rock-star!)

The dramatic second-half of the Ireland v Netherlands match had been shown live on the big screen at Slane as Moby, Ash, Nelly Furtado, The Walls and Dara warmed up the crowd before that evening’s main event.

As the four men from Dublin’s northside took to the stage that evening shortly after 8pm, the crowd was in raucous mood, not least because of the famous football result that had been achieved by the national football team a few hours earlier less than 50km down the road.

As is typical of a U2 concert, sporadic social, political, current affairs and cultural commentary would feature from frontman Bono. While all of that was interesting and insightful, it was not what made this gig so special.

What made this gig unlike any other was that Bono’s father had passed away nine days previously and Bono had buried him a couple of days earlier and was still clearly in mourning.

Bono’s father (Bob Hewson) had been a postal worker, a part-time opera singer/tenor in a musical society and had been a huge influential on Bono.

What of course made the gig on September 1st, 2001 all the more unique was the result of the football match earlier in the day (with the fortunes of the national football team always having an impact on Ireland) and the juxtaposition of the joy of that occasion coupled with Bono’s grieving for his deceased dad.

As well as mourning his dad, Bono of course reveled in the result of that day’s football match with the fans at Slane Castle that night. During the gig he sporadically references the match, singing “Beautiful GOAL” a number of times during the rendition of “Beautiful Day”.

Also, during “New Year’s Day” an Irish tricolor is thrown on stage. Bono proceeds to pick up the tricolor and wrap the flag around his body before proclaiming: “Close your eyes and imagine – IT’S JASON MCATEER!” (who was the goalscorer that day).

The mourning of his father is of course more significant for Bono than the result of the match and he regularly references and pays tribute to his father during the gig. His voice briefly breaks during “Kite” (which he dedicates to his father) during the line: “I’m a man, I’m not a child, I’m a man who sees the shadow behind your eyes.”

My favorite moment from the gig is possibly (though there are so many highlights for me of that gig that I’m not quite sure if this is the definitive highlight of the gig for me) Bono giving thanks to his father and the fans during “Out of Control”:

“I’ve got some big ideas. Father, I need a lend of 500 pounds. Because we’re going to go over to London and we’re going to score ourselves a record deal. And when we get our record deal, we’re not going to stay in London, we’re not going to go to New York city. We’re going to stay and base our crew in Dublin! Because these people, THIS IS OUR TRIBE! But I still need a lend of 500 pounds. What do you say, my old man?

“500 pounds. I want to thank my old man for that 500 pounds. I want to thank Larry Mullen’s father for 500 pounds. The Edge’s mother and father for 500 pounds. Adam Clayton’s family for 500 pounds. And by now, you (i.e. the fans) have probably all given us about 500 pounds each too, so thank you!”

There are of course numerous other poignant and memorable moments from that gig that stick in the memory. I’ll finally mention one more memory that sticks out. During “Pride (In the Name of Love)”, there’s a pause in singing and Bono once again speaks to the fans:
“Thank you for coming out. Thank you for queuing in the rain and spending your hard earned cash. You’ve given us a great life. This is our love!” – before the frontman looks back to the band with a big smile and the rest of the band members smile back.

Beautiful goal and a beautiful day indeed.