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Record numbers answer Ireland's call at Wembley

By Nevin Farrell

The home of English football - Wembley Stadium - trembled under the weight of a massive invasion of Irish rugby fans making up the vast majority of a record-breaking World Cup attendance on Sunday.

A sizeable Ulster contingent was part of the 89,267 who watched Ireland rip Romania apart 44-10.

And last night there was a mass exodus back across the Irish Sea. David Dunlop (26), a farm adviser from Ballymoney, was driving to Holyhead and was hopeful of being at work at 9am today - a happy Monday following the Wembley wondershow.

He said: "The atmosphere was fantastic. I think Ireland are in with as good a chance as anybody of winning the tournament.

"The Irish fans have a general belief they can go all the way." His fiancée Christa McMordie (26), from Saintfield, was travelling with him and said: "It was brilliant. Listening to Ireland's Call in such a huge crowd brought goosebumps and there was more noise than any rugby match I have ever been to."

The couple are to be married next year and the honeymoon has not been booked yet in case Northern Ireland's footballers get to the European Championships.

Pauline McFerran (29) from Carrick, said: "The English seemed to have vastly underestimated the number of bars they needed in the ground for 80,000 Irish fans."

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