Soccer legend Packie Bonner returned to Ireland alongside fellow former Irish international Stephen Hunt for the Ladbrokes Bandwagon Bar, which celebrated the launch of the 2022 World Cup with an exclusive viewing party in Dublin’s The Square Ball.
Bonner’s trip to the capital comes as Ladbrokes research reveals his Italia ’90 penalty save against Daniel Timofte of Romania to be the most iconic moment in Irish World Cup history.
The love for the Donegal native doesn’t stop there with Irish football fans!
Mr. Bonner is the first pick in an all-time Irish 5-a-side team, with 44% choosing the goalkeeper as their number one. Paul McGrath and Mick McCarthy make up a strong back line team being chosen by 46% and 27% of fans respectively, while almost 60% picked Roy Keane as their midfielder. His namesake Robbie Keane was chosen as the preferred long striker (38%).
With Ireland failing to make the World Cup, the bookies also asked Irish football fans who they will be supporting, and in a shocking result, England came out on top with 12% of the vote. Wales were the next most popular country amongst the Irish (6%), followed by Spain (5%) and Portugal (5%).
However, a third of respondents (31%) are seemingly afraid to come clean about supporting our nearest neighbours and indicated that they will be supporting the Three Lions in secret. Meanwhile, 25% said they were supporting England because their favourite Premier League player is in the squad, while 13% said they were ‘just jumping on the bandwagon’.
When it came to the most iconic overall moment in World Cup history, Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in 1986 ran away with the win, with 51% of those surveyed including the infamous ball-bunch as their top pick.
Speaking at the launch of the Ladbrokes Bandwagon Bar, Packie Bonner said: It’s great to be back on Irish soil to not only reflect on the wonderful memories from my own years spent playing in World Cup tournaments, but also to meet the legendary Irish fans. Playing in, and indeed watching the World Cup is always special, and while Ireland may not be directly involved this year, the sporting spirit of the Irish is still as strong as ever, and I think I speak for all football fans when I say that we can’t wait to jump on the bandwagon over the next few weeks!
Former Irish winger Stephen Hunt, added: I’m delighted to be in Dublin for the Ladbrokes Bandwagon Bar. This tournament is already shaping up to be a cracker and I am really looking forward to joining my fellow football fanatics for a great night on the Bandwagon for Wales vs USA!
Nicola McGeady, Head of PR for Ladbrokes concluded: It’s always a special day when you get two of the biggest legends in Irish football history in one room to talk all things World Cup, so it goes without saying that we are absolutely delighted to have Packie Bonner and Stephen Hunt here with us for the Ladbrokes Bandwagon Bar. Here’s to a great evening of reflecting on tournaments past and picking our early favourites for this year’s competition!
Featured Image: Soccer legend Packie Bonner returned to Ireland alongside fellow former Irish international Stephen Hunt for the Ladbrokes Bandwagon Bar
Pictures Brian McEvoy