I remember playing in some important games in European and World Cup qualifying for Ireland. Intimidating atmospheres or World Class opposition, the sort of challenge that you played the game for.

One thing you could always rely on was the 12th Man, the mass of Irish support that would cheer you on at home and away. On Thursday night, the players will emerge from the tunnel in Dublin alongside the World Champions. Normally lining up against the likes of Ozil, Muller and Gotze would spread fear into an opposing team, but the roar of the home crowd and the sea of green where ever you look will make the Irish players feel like their equals.

All sort of things will flash through the minds of the players, images of famous qualifying nights and the heart breaking near misses. The sound of 50,000 Irish fans will cut through that and make sure Martin's men are fully focused on the task ahead.

When the Irish fans are in full voice no one can compete for noise, passion and humour. Even the world class players of Germany, who have witnessed some of the cauldrons of European football, will get a shock when the Aviva Stadium erupts.

It's what we Irish do best - come together. Players, managers, fans, joined together in a common cause - qualification for Euro 2016 and the chance once again to compete on the biggest stage.

One of the memories that sticks in my mind from my whole playing career was qualifying in Iran for the World Cup in 2001. Obviously even the Irish fans struggled to make the trip to Tehran in great numbers, but I'll never forget arriving in Dublin at 5am to see 5,000 fans waiting for us at the airport. Only in Ireland.

So this week, the players will need the same spirit and support. Sing your hearts out on Thursday night and who knows in a couple of months you might be planning a nice little summer trip to France. And then we'll really show the World what Irish support is all about!

Kevin Kilbane


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