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Ennis journalist swept along in Italian Euro 2020 win celebrations

AN Ennis journalist and television presenter who is now living in Italy has described the atmosphere in Rome following the Italian team’s win over England in the Euros as “electric”.
Colm Flynn is living close to the Vatican and on Sunday evening he watched the match with friends, witnessing firsthand the celebrations for Italy’s victory in the competition on penalties.
While scenes of crowds at London’s Leicester Square throwing bottles and littering ahead of the game caused shock and outrage Colm says there was a “lovely family atmosphere” in Rome.
Colm is working as the Vatican correspondent for EWTN a global Catholic television, radio, and news network. Speaking to the Clare Champion about Sunday’s dramatic match he said, “There was a real sense of excitement and giddiness before the game.
“I was sitting outside a restaurant with a group of Irish and Italian friends in Piazza Navona right in the heart of Rome.
“It was a gorgeous warm summer’s evening and we were surrounded by beautiful architecture and fountains. The restaurant had brought out a TV so we could watch as we ate dinner.”
England went ahead early in the game with a goal by Luke Shaw two minutes in, however Italy equalised with a goal by Leonardo Bonucci in the second half. Af
ter a scoreless extra time, the match went to penalties with Italy eventually crowned champions.
“After the equalizing goal, the Italians were on their feet! Each time they scored in the penalties the restaurant would erupt, chairs would fall back from tables, drink was spilled, and the roar was deafening! The atmosphere was amazing,” recalled Colm.
“When it was clear Italy had won the place went crazy. The waiter at our table hugged us and was jumping up and down. Everyone in the restaurant got a drink on the house. The square we were in was packed with people waving flags and honking horns.
“People jumped into the fountains in their clothes! A guy played ‘We are the champions’ on his electric guitar on a rooftop overlooking the piazza. It was electric.”
He goes on, “Because we were speaking English, for the rest of the night everybody we met automatically assumed we were English! But we never experienced an ounce of menace. When we told the people we were in fact Irish, they jumped for joy even more.
“We walked all around the city that night and I was so impressed with how the Italian fans carried themselves. Yes, they were celebrating and drinking, they were shouting and running around, but it was a lovely family atmosphere.”
He believes that the win means far more than just a sporting victory.
“They have been through such a hard time over the past year and a half I think they really needed this win to lift the country. One Italian told me that it felt like the party and celebrations were marking the end of Covid, not the Euros win.
“I live right next to the Vatican and it was amazing to see as I walked home, so many cars and Vespas parade past St Peter’s Basilica waving flags and honking their horns. It was a great night in Rome.”

by Jessica Quinn

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