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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: June 19, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

    Euro 2012 – who were we kidding?

    Noel O'Reilly

    So there you have it. As we bid farewell to Poland there is no escaping the cold, hard facts. Played three, lost three with a goal difference of minus eight.

    All in all, not the cleverest of campaigns from an Irish team and certainly not the one a giddy nation expected.

    But, given the quality of the teams we faced compared with the meagre resources at Giovanni Trapattoni’s disposal, should we really be surprised? Or were we all just a little bit guilty of believing the hype, of getting sucked into a national mood that was bordering on delusional.

    Damien Duff, who captained the Republic of Ireland last night, leaves the field after the 2-0 defeat to Italy in Poznan. Photograph: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Damien Duff, who captained the Republic of Ireland last night, leaves the field after the 2-0 defeat to Italy in Poznan. Photograph: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Sure, the players have performed better in the past and (most of them) will do so again in the future. But there was a reason Ireland were such long shots to make it out of the group and, as always, the bookies set those odds for a reason.

    Trap has been castigated for his team selections and the tactical straight jacket he imposed on the players. But what would you have done to change things, and how can we improve in the World Cup qualifiers which are just a few short months away. Who would you start in Kazakhstan come September?

    And what of our behaviour off the pitch? FAI chief executive John Delaney has argued our jolly green giants deserve a Uefa award for their unwavering support. But is the ‘win, lose we’re on the booze’ culture – seemingly from the top down – something to be proud of, or should it make us cringe with embarrassment?

    We want to hear your views, what team you would have selected and your starting XI for a new era.  Don’t be shy, have your say below the line.


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