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Who should Irish fans support at Euro 2024? All the Irish connections in qualified teams

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Euro 2024 gets underway on June 14 and while the Republic of Ireland failed to qualify, there are some Irish connections in the other squads, from our nearest neighbours to Spain and beyond. 

Ireland last competed in a major tournament at Euro 2016 when we lost out to France in the round of 16. Since then, Irish football has been in the doldrums and we now must pin our hopes on World Cup qualification in 2026.

In the meantime, Euro 2024 will hit our screens and we may as well support someone. We’ve had a look at the qualified teams to find all the Irish connections, and we’ll be honest, some of these are tenuous. Nevertheless, in the interest of shouting for the sake of it, here are our five teams to support at Euro 2024.

England

A controversial one to start but our neighbours have big Irish connections, including two former Irish international players. Jack Grealish played underage with the Republic of Ireland before switching to the country of his birth. He has family ties in Dublin, Kerry and Galway through his grandparents and even played Gaelic Football with John Mitchells of Warwickshire GAA as a kid.

Declan Rice too played for Ireland, and was even capped at senior level, before making the switch to England. He has since moved from West Ham to Arsenal at club level and is a star player in the Premier League. His grandparents are from Cork. Harry Kane too has Irish links through his Galway father. 

Can we bring ourselves to cheer for the Three Lions though?

Spain

If not, Spain could be the next option and we’re admitting from the outset that this is a tenuous link. Recent Champions League winner Dani Carvajal is a GAA fan. No joke! Back in 2016, the Real Madrid star was spotted at a GAA match in Kerry. Apparently, his partner at the time was studying in Ireland and he was over visiting. We reckon he’d have been a tasty Gaelic footballer if he hadn’t caught the soccer bug on the continent! 

Denmark

They have a lad called Delaney – simple as that! When you read ‘Thomas Joseph Delaney is a Danish professional footballer’ online, you almost question it. You think, ‘surely, he grew up in west Clare, had a brother called Paidi and hurled minor’, but no, he was born and raised in Denmark. Obviously, the defensive midfielder has an Irish connection; his paternal great-grandfather emigrated from Ireland to America during the Famine. We’re claiming him and his Danish comrades for the few weeks.

Poland

We have no Irish-connected players here but Ireland has a major population connection with Poland. According to the last Census, almost 100,000 Polish national have made Ireland their home in the last 20 years or so. Having a friend, colleague or neighbour flying the Polish flag is good enough reason for us to hitch ourselves to their bandwagon. Robbie Lewandowski, let’s be having you!!

Scotland

Our Celtic cousins have been out of form lately and their underdog tag is something we’re all too familiar with in Ireland. Our two nations are a matter of miles apart at our closest point so they are in fact our nearest neighbours. Scotland and Ireland share a great affinity and if nothing else, they seem to enjoy the craic as much as us. No doubt they will bring the cheer to Germany for the tournament in our absence.

A lot of Irish soccer fans also support Celtic FC, one of Scotland’s biggest clubs thanks to its Irish founder, Andrew Kerins or Brother Walfrid. The tricolour is flown proudly at Celtic Park while Irish songs like Grace are a staple of the fan base. Many of Celtic’s players feature in the Scotland squad so will be familiar to Irish fans. 

So, who are you siding with? 

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