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22nd Jun 2017

How Robbie Brady’s goal against Italy at Euro 2016 inadvertently led to the death of a dog

Robbie Brady's goal which would, eventually, lead to the death of a dog

Wayne Farry

There are certain events throughout history that are so momentous that almost everyone remembers where they were when they took place.

These are moments that are so groundbreaking, so earth-shattering that they reverberate outwards in space and time, making our location at the time a key part of our own personal versions of those tales.

For example, Liverpool fans will likely know exactly where they were when they beat AC Milan on penalties in the 2005 Champions League final, ditto for Manchester United fans and the 1999 final of the same competition.

I too have one of these moments, frozen in time and etched into my mind forever, always there for me to dip back in whenever I so wish. Unfortunately, my “where were you?” moment came exactly 365 days ago.

My “where were you?” moment was Robbie Brady’s winning goal for Ireland against Italy at Euro 2016, and it inadvertently led to the untimely death of a dog.

Before you judge me – please – let me explain.

A tense affair

The match (and much of Euro 2016) took place at a time when my girlfriend and I were dog sitting. Yes. I know.

Rule one of dog sitting and essentially the only rule of dog sitting is to not let the dog die, or let something occur which could potentially lead to the death of the dog. All of this I know.

I sat down to watch the match alongside my girlfriend and the two Cairn Terriers we had been trusted with caring for. All was well. The two dogs – competitive, possessive, rowdy and lovable rogues – watched with increasing curiosity at the human’s reactions at the moving colour square in front of them.

Me, the match and the dogs were calm and rather uneventful in the first half. A couple of potential incidents, a few overeager reactions, but nothing of note.

This pattern continued for most of the second half too. Ireland threatened, I reacted, the dogs reacted with bewilderment, and all was calm again.

As the match neared its natural end, there was a buzz of growing unease among everyone – both dog and human – inside that room.

I, nervously biting my nails, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer, kicked and headed every ball, protested every refereeing call and shouted at every mistake.

The dogs – living in a home where sport was never watched – were not comfortable with this situation, with the man shouting and gesticulating at the moving colour square in front of them.

In Lille, and in that sitting room in Tampere, Finland, tension had reached a fever pitch. Were Ireland going to snatch a goal to qualify for the next round? Was the man going to stop reacting wildly to the moving colour square.

That Robbie Brady goal

Then Wes Hoolahan got the ball, looked up, spotted Robbie Brady making a deep run into the box, and swung in one of the best crosses you’re ever likely to see.

The stadium erupted, I erupted and so too, unfortunately, did the dogs.

Initially I was unaware, too caught up in my knee-slide-across-the-wooden-floor celebration to realise that the two canines – accidentally tortured with excitement over the previous 90 minutes – had begun to quarrel.

Later I would find out one had run towards me as I slid, a move quickly noticed by the other, neither would allow the other to join and so they fought, for 15 minutes.

Such was the tension between them, and after numerous attempts to separate them, my girlfriend and I left for the balcony like two children hoping their parents would stop fighting by the time they returned inside.

They had stopped by the time we reemerged. We breathed a collective sigh of relief. Both seemed fine. One was put down months later due to an infection contracted after being bitten in the gum.

I don’t tell this story to garner sympathy (it wasn’t my dog though I was close to it), nor do I seek some sick laughter from you weird internet people.

I simply tell this story because we are all in possession of moments throughout history that instantly bring us back to the place we witnessed them.

Mine was Robbie Brady’s winning goal for Ireland against Italy, and it inadvertently led to the death of a dog.