Both Republic and NI fans to be honoured by Paris for sportsmanship
FROM serenading women to helping lost children, Irish football fans at the European Championships made a huge impression with their behaviour and good humour.
Now followers of both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are to be honoured by the mayor of Paris with the city's most prestigious honour.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo's office said fans from across the island would be deserving recipients of the Grand Vermeil award.
"The supporters from Ireland and Northern Ireland have distinguished themselves by their exemplary attitude, fair play and good mood."
Both governments have been informed and an official ceremony featuring fan groups from both teams will take place in the next few days.
The Grand Vermeil is regarded as Paris's highest honour and is awarded to cultural, sporting and political figures.
The two Irish teams were defeated in the first knock-out round of the tournament, but their supporters were universally praised for their good humour.
Republic fans were filmed singing Abba songs with Swedish supporters, serenading a woman in Bordeaux, singing a lullaby to a baby on a train and helping an elderly French couple change a flat tyre.
Northern Ireland fans also teamed up with Welsh supporters to help a lost 13-year-old boy find his father.
Meanwhile, it has emerged a total of 65 fans from the UK - including 11 from Northern Ireland - were arrested at Euro 2016.
British Home Office minister Mike Penning said two of the Northern Ireland fans were suspected of criminal damage, two were held for public order offences, one for drunkenness, four for assault, one for ticket touting, and one for pitch encroachment.
Of the remainder, 45 English fans were arrested and nine from Wales.
News of the arrests came as Linfield FC issued an appeal to fans ahead of a Europa League match with Cork City at Windsor Park tonight.
The club has previously been fined for breaches of UEFA regulations and has called for calm during the game, warning against punishable actions such as sectarian chanting.
A spokesman said:"Football supporters across the island of Ireland earned enormous praise across the continent of Europe and beyond, for their sportsmanship and good humour during the recent Euro 2016 tournament in France and it is this example that both Linfield and Cork City want to see continued in these two eagerly anticipated games between our two proud clubs."