Norwich City fans feeling the love for Republic of Ireland - and it’s mutual

Republic of Ireland's Wes Hoolahan, right, celebrates with Robbie Brady after scoring the opening go

Republic of Ireland's Wes Hoolahan, right, celebrates with Robbie Brady after scoring the opening goal during the Euro 2016 Group E soccer match between Ireland and Sweden at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, France, Monday, June 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) - Credit: AP

Norwich eyes are smiling.

For after the despair of relegation from the Premier League, Canaries fans are gaining solace by becoming honorary Irish.

Despite the joy of Daniel Sturridge's late winner for England against Wales, some City supporters leapt higher and shouted louder at two made-in-Norwich moments for the Republic of Ireland.

Both Wes Hoolahan and Robbie Brady have proved instrumental in the Euros campaign of the Republic of Ireland.

In fact, were it not for the contributions of the City pair, the Boys in Green would already have packed their bags and headed home.

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Both goals scored by the Green Army have been scored by Wes and Robbie respectively, with Hoolahan providing the assist for Brady's late Italian winner.

Robin Sainty, chairman of the Canaries Trust, has nailed his flag to the Irish mast for the tournament - even if they face England.

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Mr Sainty, 59, said: 'I've been following Ireland from the beginning - their fans have such passion in supporting them, so it's goes beyond the fact they have a couple of our players.

'It was fantastic to see Wes doing the business. Both goals felt like we had scored, and I'm sure more than a few Norwich fans will have enjoyed them.'

Jack Reeve, 18, who runs YouTube Channel Talk Norwich City, said: 'I'm really happy and proud to be seeing our boys doing well.

'I went pretty potty when England scored the winner against Wales, but it was a similar reaction when Brady scored on Wednesday.'

Ireland's own Canary

The exploits of Messrs Hoolahan and Brady have meant a love of the Irish has developed in Norfolk.

However, is the feeling mutal over in the Emerald Isle?

In one case at least, yes.

Ken Sutton, of Waterford, Ireland, has been a City fan since a very young age, after picking the Canaries 'at random'.

Mr Sutton, 35, said: 'When I was a lad, I used to watch season review videos of all the English teams.

'All my friends supported teams like Man United and Liverpool, but I wanted to be different, so I took those out, shut my eyes and pointed. I've been obsessed ever since.

For Sutton, Ireland's campaign has provided double the joy.

He said: 'The Italy game was a rollercoaster of emotions - in a few moments it went from deflation to elation.

'For a Norwich City fan and an Ireland fan, there was nothing better than seeing our boys having such a big impact for Ireland.'

He has since passed his Norwich City colours on the 16-month-old son Tadhg, who - he admits - could have had a different name completely.

'I should have called him Wes,' Mr Sutton said.

The Republic of Ireland face host nation France tomorrow, with the winner potentially facing England in the next round. Kick off is at 2pm and the match will be shown on ITV1

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