A stunning home victory over world champions Germany in qualifying suggested a rejuvenated Ireland could cause the sort of upset in France that would banish memories of their woeful Euro 2012 campaign.
In 2016 qualifying, Ireland took four points off the Germans but defeat by Poland in their final group game sent them to the play-offs, where they comfortably beat Bosnia 3-1 over two legs.
It was all so different from the failed 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign under Giovanni Trapattoni which heralded the end of the Italian's reign.
Despite being some of the loudest fans in Poland in 2012, the Irish had little to cheer about. Euro 2016 will give the side a chance to restore their reputation as a team full of strength, spirit and surprises.
Fifa ranking: 33
Manager: Martin O'Neill
Squad - Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph, Shay Given, Keiren Westwood. Defenders: Ciaran Clark, Cyrus Christie, John O'Shea, Richard Keogh, Robbie Brady, Seamus Coleman, Stephen Ward, Shane Duffy. Midfielders: Aiden McGeady, David Meyler, Glenn Whelan, James McCarthy, James McClean, Jeff Hendrick, Stephen Quinn, Wes Hoolahan. Forwards: Daryl Murphy, Jon Walters, Robbie Keane, Shane Long.
Key player: Jon Walters. He displays the bustling, all-action style and never-say-die attitude that epitomises Ireland's rejuvenation under Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane. A handful for tall centre-backs, he has often been deployed either up front or as something of a target man on the wings, duelling for cross-field balls in the air with smaller full-backs.