Captain Ross Crosbie and team acknowledge the crowds
Ireland are now the proud holders of the Melbourne 2008 Dignitary Cup after their 7-3 victory over African power-house Nigeria in front of thousnads of fans at Fed Square Stadium.
Jimmy Bell opened the scoring for the ecstatic crowd in the second minute.
Nigeria’s Babatunde Jimoh, slammed home an equalizer unopposed after receiving a scorching cross from wide and deep.
Four minutes had passed without a score as the Irish tightened their defence, but a determined Jimoh refused to be denied after missing a shot, backing it up with a huge strike on the turn off the wall to take a 2-1 lead.
Irish keeper Gary Cunniam made two crucial saves late in the half, and as Brian and Steven Coleman slotted through last minute goals the Irish had snatched a 3-2 lead.
Before the Nigerians even got going the Irish had extended their lead in the second half, thanks to quick work from the midfield by Brian Coleman.
An instant reply from Nigeria's Edoziem was just as quickly nullified by Paul Farrell, kicking the third goal in 40 seconds from an impossible angle.
5-3 down and feeling the pinch, the Nigerian keeper began rolling the ball in as soon as he got it, trying to take maximum advantage of the terrific pace his team had shown throughout the competition.
But Ireland matched the Africans' speed on the ball and used their trademark physicality and aggression to set up Coleman, who sent his triple to the right of a diving keeper.
The Nigerians continued to pepper the goals with hard strikes, each one more desperate than the last as time started getting away from them.
Irish keeper Cunniam fought brilliantly to get whatever he could in the way of their shots and succeeded in keeping his opponents to just three. His performance demoralising the Nigerians
A fifth minute goal to Karl Robinson took the Irish to an unassailable 7-3 lead, and the Irish sealed the deal in the final minutes when shots rained in but did not hit the scoreboard.
Hatrick hero Brian Coleman said winning the Dignitary Cup and finishing ninth overall in the Homeless World Cup simply "meant the world". "I have never felt this good before," Coleman said after the win. "Achieving this, and not depending on drugs and alcohol, it is just the best feeling."
He said he was looking forward to the pride he would feel when he returned home to a huge welcome. "We're gonna keep playing in Ireland's Issues street soccer league , and we're going to be appreciated for doing what we love."
Irish Team coach Daniel Carey said he was extremely proud of what his boys had achieved. "Most importantly, they did themselves proud," said Carey. "They will go home and they will earn the respect that heroes like them deserve."
A sentiment echoed by Street league founder and Manager Sean Kavanagh,
Team Mick pender FAI,Gary Cunniam,Stephen Coleman,Thomas Cullen,Karl Robinson captain Ross Crosbie , Jimmy Bell, Coach Dan Carey Street League Sean Kavanagh Street League founder,bottom Vernon Mcallorum assistant coach,Paul Farrell ,Ross Crosbie Captain, Jimmy Bell, Brian Coleman,Anthony Hill streeleague.and of course the Dignitory Cup.