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Irish President hails Cyprus after Euro qualifier rout October 9, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Irish President Mary McAleese praised lowly Cyprus’s historic five-goal thumping of Ireland during an official visit aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries.

The first ever visit by an Irish President to Cyprus has been engulfed in football fever after Saturday’s shock 5-2 win, regarded as Cyprus’s best ever result and Ireland’s most embarrassing defeat.

Following official talks between McAleese and Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, top of the agenda at the news conference was the result that shook European football.

“I thought you were brilliant. I thought Cyprus were absolutely stunning… it was very historic,” McAleese told reporters. “I think I’m right in saying, not in living memory have we been defeated so comprehensively… It’s really good to be here for an epoch-making night,” she added.

The Irish President kicked off her official Cyprus tour with the game at Nicosia’s GSP stadium which McAleese attended along with Papadopoulos. They were among an 8,000 crowd in which the majority were travelling Irish fans.

Asked what she thought of the Irish performance, McAleese answered diplomatically: “It wasn’t great was it now? We were outclassed on the night, you were two-and-a-half times better than us.”

However, McAleese voiced hope that Ireland could learn from the Cyprus experience and pick themselves up for the crucial home tie against Czech Republic on Wednesday.

Cyprus received a lot of criticism after going down 6-1 to Slovakia in their opening Euro 2008 Group D fixture. “Whatever happened to the Cypriot team (after Slovakia), I hope the same happens to the Irish team,” said McAleese.

Cyprus, placed 103 in the FIFA rankings, face Wales, who crashed 5-1 to Slovakia at the weekend, in Cardiff on Wednesday. Local Alithia newspaper summed up the mood in its headline on Monday: “It’s not a dream, it’s true, we beat Ireland 5-2.”

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