Fuckbags. Cheating lying fuckbags. I'm struggling to contain my disdain and contempt for an act of dishonesty so contemptible you would immediately assume England was at fault. Not the French. But France it was who cheated Ireland out of the World Cup and confirmed that after all, the big teams do always win, money does rule the world, inevitably is not evitable and the rest of all the bad shit is true too.

I went to Arequipa's only Irish pub, Farren's, with neither hope nor expectation. After all, it was 1937 since Ireland last won in Paris. I got there to find the pub full of French. That didn't help. Then some Australian fucker sat directly in front of me, blocking my view with his stupid head. "All the good seats are gone," I told three Clare lads who wandered in after me. Never mind. They clambered up on the stools behind.
The match started. Kevin Doyle on for Ireland. With a Wexfordman involved, you can be sure we'll fight. It's all Ireland. France can't get the ball. Meanwhile the French guys beside me are really pissing me off. Not even looking at the match. Chatting and presuming it's a formality before Les Bleus score a few goals and progress.
But it's all Ireland. Duff gets the ball out on the wing. A cross into the box. Robbie Keane. Gol!!! Goooooooooolllll!!! The pub erupts like the volcano Misti behind. Waaaaaaeeeyyyyyy!!! The French know they're in an Irish pub now. That shut them up.
In fairness, it's no more than Ireland deserve, with two clear chances for a goal before. I take back all the bad things I said about Keane being a Dublin knacker. It's half-time. 0-1. The excitement is palpable. I'm actually shaking. The Clare lads tell me of their trip to Colca Canyon at the weekend. "We stayed in a hut. 'Twas great. You wake up in the morning and you're in the middle of a fucking canyon!"
The second half starts. If we score another goal, France have to score two to qualify. But it doesn't look likely. This time it's all France. But still we have chances. Jaysus lads, you need to put those chances away! It's helter skelter, end to end, mad shit. The pub is heaving with excitement. Even the nuns in the monasterio across the road must be wondering what's going on. I ask them to pray for us. Four clear chances for Ireland, but still I get the feeling we're hanging on by our fingertips. Full-time. Ireland win, but the tie's all square thanks to that flukey French goal in Dublin. Extra time looms! Now I'm really shaking. I order my third beer.
Hope is reignited but I try keep it under control. I want to believe but still I can't. Years of disappointment has taught me to err my optimism on the side of pessimism.
I look to the smoke-filled heavens and ask St. Patrick to intervene. Jaysus, do something! I even talk to the French guys beside me. Ask why Benzema isn't playing. "Because Domenech stupide." I hope they're right. But I'm not sure.
Then France scored the goal. By cheating, as I may have mentioned before. A blatant hand-ball. Offside too just to add insult to injury. Irish protests went in vain as the French shamefully celebrated.
The end was as inevitable as it was desperate. Everybody forward, searching for the deserved goal which never came. There was a furious exodus from the pub. Only the two French guys happy. I congratulated them but couldn't look in their eyes, before I too left the scene of the crime.

So a France without honour goes to the World Cup, while Ireland with honour goes home. The French will know they got there through deceit, but that won't stop them celebrating. For Ireland meanwhile, it's yet another heroic failure. It couldn't be any other way.


  1. If I may say something: France has the best hand-ball team in the world. Olympic Champions 08, World Champion 09.
    Actually, France has a really shitty football team, but if the handballers do their job also in football, it's quite ok, we should be soon champions.
    It is basic anglo-saxon management, as Ireland developed it a lot in the 90's and until 2008: for economies of scale reasons, France has decided that handball champions should play football as well, and vice versa. We will spend less money in 2156413213 different national teams.
    We are also further investigating on merging the 2 sports, so that we spend less money in teaching both football and handball players.

  2. I've calmed down enough to realise this is actually the best possible outcome for Ireland. We weren't going to win the World Cup in any case but now we can pour all our energies into supporting anyone who plays against England.
    Congratulations to France's handballers.

  3. No Kiwicha. You don't go to the World Cup expecting to win if you are a small nation like Ireland. Endeavouring yes, but not expecting. This was Ireland's chance to pull itself out of the (politicians and bankers inflicted) gloom and misery and hold it's head high on the world stage, while promoting the country and attracting investors and generating much needed revenue. Apart from that there's the collective psyche to think about. You think watching England getting beaten will cheer the country up? What if it's an England/France final? I know who I'll be cheering for. Until then it's OLÉ OLÉ OLÉ OLÉ, HELLAS. HELLAS; or maybe COME ON YOU ALL WHITES, COME ON YOU ALL WHITES, COME ON YOU ALL COME ON YOU ALL WHITES.

  4. Guys, I know I'm speaking from a french perspective, but come on, it's just a stupid sport. That's it.
    Rugby is so much better, and you're champions at it this year, right?
    kiwicha, pas de "s" à "putain" ;)

  5. Pas de "s" en Putains? Tant mémé quand il y a plus que un putain?! Merde alors, mon Français est toujours plus mal que c'était avant. Donc, je doit arrêter maintenant avant que je fait encore plus des fautes.

  6. You're right Soniawawa, rugby is of course a better game. It's worth noting that the French rugby team has almost always been revered for the cavalier way it plays the sport, with style and panache. So I can remember anyway since the days of Serge Blanco, and that impression is reinforced every time Les Bleus play the All Blacks. The legend of French rugby is not created by the trophies and competitions won, but for the courage to play the sport according to the aesthetic principles of the greats who played before.

    Henri, on the other hand, will never be a great. His sense of shame compels him to call for a replay, http://www.irishtimes.com/sports/soccer/2009/1120/1224259191991.html, but his shameful celebrations show he doesn't feel any at all. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2009/nov/19/thierry-henry-handball-france-ireland. I could mention of course, that he plays for Barcelona.

  7. Allez les Bleues


  8. This is almost certainly flogging a dead horse at this stage - don't tell the French or they'll eat it - but maybe it's worth a go ahead of FIFA's Emergency General Meeting and following the pathetic apology from a certain Monsieur Henry.

    Calling all Ireland Supporters, This only takes 30 seconds to complete.

    If you care AT ALL about Ireland being cheated out of taking part in the World Cup by France last night, Please, Please, click on the following link to the petition calling on FIFA to have a re-match.

    For anyone who didn't watch game - & I'm sure you can catch the incident on youtube - France's Thierry Henry handballed TWICE to keep the ball in play & it directly led to a the goal which put Ireland out of the World Cup....Irish Goalie Shay Given didn't even try to save it, as he knew it was a hand-ball!

    Sign this petition & send it to all your contacts in Ireland & abroad - The Irish have so many friends all over the world. If they get 10+million signatures, they will have to seriously rethink it. Don't let this go.

    Or let FIFA know directly,


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