IT HAS been said that Ireland fans deserve a medal for their support of the national team, and that’s exactly what they’ll get.
The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has deemed the Republic’s supporters worthy of a ‘City of Paris’ award for their “exemplary sportsmanship”.
She has already written to Ireland president Michael D Higgins to inform him of the decision and subsequently took to Twitter to write: “The Irish fans have been outstanding during the Euros. Pleased to award them the Medal of the City”.
It is estimated that around 100,000 Republic of Ireland fans travelled to France for the team’s run to the last 16 of the tournament before they were knocked out by the host nation.
They generated a typically Irish party atmosphere during their stay and won the hearts of the French public with their charm, excellent behaviour and humour.
??Les supporteurs irlandais ont été exceptionnels durant l'Euro. Heureuse de leur décerner la Médaille de la Ville : https://t.co/iLaaJDYgeW
— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) June 29, 2016
Martin Prendergast, Secretary of the London branch of the Republic of Ireland supporters’ club, said the award will be a fitting tribute to all who made the nation proud.
“This is great to see and a wonderful acknowledgement of Ireland fans' support of their team and the tournament as whole,” he told The Irish Post.
“There was a great deal of coverage on security worries for people travelling to the tournament given recent events and I am really pleased to see the positive impact Ireland fans’ behaviour and sportsmanship has had on the tournament. Everyone is a fan of the Ireland fans now.
“I brought my four-year-old son Cian to every game at the tournament and he loved every minute and I know we will cherish the great memories and the fans who high-fived him, sang with him and welcomed him into the family of Irish supporters.”
Indeed, the web has been awash with videos of their exploits, from changing a car tyre for an elderly couple to singing lullabies to a baby on a tram, while young Cian Prendergast became an internet hit himself.