Sports

A ‘Grand’ arrival in Armagh

Thursday, 1 December 2016

THE City of Armagh Northern Ireland Supporters' Club will welcome a special visitor to their monthly meeting in the Hole in the Wall bar this Thursday evening (December 1).

However, it isn't a former international footballer or a local dignitary, but a medal that is set to take its place in the new state of the art Exhibition and Heritage Centre at the home of the Irish Football Association at Windsor Park later on this month.

The 'Grand Vermeil' medal was awarded to the Northern Ireland supporters after the European Championships last summer in France.

More commonly known as the 'Medal of Paris', the medal was awarded to the Green and White Army for their 'exemplary sportsmanship' during the tournament in June and July.

The medal was given to the Northern Ireland fans by the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo following their exit from the tournament.

She said that the Northern Irish supporters contributed to the 'festive atmosphere' that took over Paris during the tournament and stated that they were 'a model for all supporters across the world'.

The 'Grand Vermeil' is regarded as the most prestigious honour in Paris and in previous years it has been awarded to star tennis player Rafael Nadal, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and jazz pianist Herbie Hancock.

Michael Kerr, Chairman of the City of Armagh Northern Ireland Supporters' Club said it was an honour to welcome the medal to the city.

“This really is a unique event and we look forward to welcoming any local Northern Ireland fans to the Hole in the Wall bar between 7.30pm and 8.15pm on Thursday evening.

“The medal has done a bit of a tour of Northern Ireland and it has generated a lot of interest wherever it has gone.

“There is no charge or entry free and we just want as many people as possible to come down and see the Grand Vermeil.

“2016 was an amazing year for Northern Ireland supporters and this is a wonderful way to end such a momentous year for the club."

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