PADDY Power have rewarded the faith of one extremely optimistic Irish punter who backed the Boys in Green to lift next summer’s World Cup in Russia.
A 1-0 defeat to Serbia on Monday night left Ireland’s qualification hopes on a knife-edge – but that hardly got in the way of the unnamed man, who now has a cool €450 to show for his patriotic punt.
At the price of 150/1, the loyal gambler put a €3 bet on Martin O’Neill’s men to win next year’s tournament for the first time since its formation 96 years ago.
His unwavering faith clearly struck a chord with Paddy Power, who decided to reward the lad early out of admiration for his “sheer optimism” in the face of overwhelming odds.
A spokesman for Paddy Power said: “The mood in the country certainly wasn’t one of optimism after the Serbia result so we can’t but admire the stones on this lad.
“Given the timing of the bet he may have been drowning his sorrows.
"But we feel as though his ridiculous optimism can’t go unrewarded and have decided to pay the man his money.”
It’s not the first time that Paddy Power have rewarded the steadfast faith of a punter, having paid out two Rangers fans who backed Kazakh champions Astana to overcome a five goal deficit and defeat their arch rivals Celtic.
The Republic are currently third in their qualification group and face two must-win games against Moldova in Dublin on October 6, and Wales in Cardiff on October 9.
Wales travel to winless Georgia on October 6, meaning Cardiff could host one of the biggest games in Irish footballing history as the two sides battle it out for second place.
Ireland desperately need a maximum of six points from the two remaining fixtures if they are to stand a chance of reaching the play-offs.