Page last updated at 15:15 GMT, Thursday, 19 November 2009

Anger on the airwaves in Dublin

Mark Simpson
Ireland correspondent

Giovanni Trapattoni
Giovanni Trapattoni spoke to the media in Dublin

The angry atmosphere on the streets of Dublin following Ireland's controversial World Cup exit was summed up by one of the country's most famous comedians.

Ardal O'Hanlon, who starred in cult sit-com Father Ted, said there was little to find humorous about Thierry Henry's hand-ball which gifted France victory over Ireland in the World Cup play-off.

"There's nothing like injustice to galvanise a nation," said O'Hanlon on Today FM radio, one of many Dublin stations inundated with furious text messages and irate phone-calls about the Paris match.

One caller pointed out that Henry actually handled the ball twice before France's winning goal.

"Even in volleyball, that's a foul," said the frustrated football fan.


"Ireland are still kings - France are wearing a stolen crown," said another.

"I'll never drink French wine again," claimed one woman. Then it got ridiculous as other people texted in to say they would be giving up French bread, and even French kissing.

The radio stations did little to quell the anger with one DJ playing the record 'I Predict A Riot' by the Kaiser Chiefs. It was then followed by 'You Little Thief' by Feargal Sharkey.

Irish Cabinet Minister Dermot Ahern weighed in with his strong views.

Calling for a replay of the match, the Justice Minister said: "There was no justice last night in Paris."

He said he was speaking as a football fan and did not want to start a diplomatic war against France and FIFA.

However, he insisted there was a precedent for FIFA calling a result null and void - a match in 2005 between Uzbekistan and Bahrain.


This appeared to give fans some hope, but it was quickly snuffed out by Irish manager Giovanni Trapattoni who said he felt it was "impossible" to win a replay.

This was bad news, not just for football supporters, but pub owners across Ireland. World Cup qualification always has a spin-off for alcohol sales.

It will cost the Irish economy millions of euros at a time when it can least afford it. The country is in an economic crisis, and there is no sign of the gloom lifting.

World Cup qualification would have given Irish people a timely morale-boost.

Rather than a wild World Cup summer, it seems Irish fans will be eating Irish bread, sipping German wine and pecking each other on the cheek.

They will of course be hoping that France get knocked out early.

If they do, Thierry Henry would be advised to go somewhere other than Ireland for his holidays.

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