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The Irish football team’s greatest moment. Immortalised on film.

So perhaps you’ve heard that the European Championships of “soccer” kick off tomorrow in Poland and Ukraine. The competition will see the Republic of Ireland competing in their first major tournament since 2002.

It’s at times like this that we’re all prone to a little nationalist nostalgia and what better way to get yourself in the mood than by reliving what many consider to be Ireland’s greatest moment in this fine foreign game.

The 1996 film adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s The Van wasn’t as clever or as funny as the previous two films in The Barrytown Trilogy, but in saying this you have to remember that The Commitments and The Snapper are perched very near the top of anyone’s list of favourite Irish films from the last 25 years. But the film is still jam-packed with laughs and does a great job at showing just how excited everyone got in the heady early days of the Jack Charlton era as the team reached the quarter-finals of Italia ’90.

Here’s a look at the Ireland Romania penalty shoot-out from the last 16 where Donegal’s finest Packie Bonner immortalised himself as a national treasure. Until his gig hosting Champions League coverage for TV3 a decade later. Bill O’Herlihy he is not.

The third installment of Irish author Roddy Doyle’s ‘Barrytown Trilogy’ depicts the hilarious yet poignant adventures of Bimbo. Upon being fired from his job at the bakery, Bimbo and his best mate go into business for themselves and purchase a chipper (a fish and chips van); but will the pressures of financial success sour their friendship forever? [via imdb]

How useful of IMDB’s plot summary to explain the phrase “chipper” for us all.

Colm Meaney and Donal O'Kelly in Stephen Frears' 1996 film 'The Van'

Colm Meaney and Donal O'Kelly in Stephen Frears' 1996 film 'The Van'

Anyway enjoy the competition and don’t forget to take a break from all the excitement by tipping into a cinema once or twice over the next three weeks…