Green Army set sail for great French invasion
Irish fans were in high spirits as they boarded a ferry for France at Rosslare yesterday.
The Green Army boarded the ship in cars and camper vans and on foot as they prepared for cheer on the Boys in Green at Euros 2016.
They partied in the harbour terminal at a 'bon voyage' event hosted by Boylesports and attended by former Ireland greats Ray Houghton and Stephen Hunt and former manager Brian Kerr.
Houghton and Hunt both told the Herald the Green Army will play a crucial role in giving "vital support" during the high pressure games. Brian Kerr said he was "really looking forward to the tournament".
"I've loved football tournaments since I went to the World Cup in England in 1966 as a young lad," he said.
Ireland fans travelling in camper vans were outnumbered three-to-one by Northern Ireland fans in camper vans as they queued to board the ferry.
The Green Tigers were a group of nine Dubliners travelling in a converted van. Driver Paul Hamilton (50), a plumber from Crumlin, said the group raised funds for the Ronald McDonald charity by raffling a set a tickets for all Ireland's round one games.
Fellow Green Tiger Gabriel Curtis (52) from Woodstown Village, Knocklyon, travelling in the van with his son Stephen (18), said he was looking forward to good-natured banter with the Northern Ireland fans on board and said they'll also support the Northerners in their games.
William Blackburn (31) from Glanworth, Co Cork, said his Peugeot camper consisted of "two vans welded together". There was now "plenty of room" for him and his five friends from Glanworth for their football tour. His friend Johnny O'Driscoll met his Polish fiancee Barbara at the Euro 2012 in Poznan, he said.
Ross O'Flaherty (24) from Garristown, Co Dublin, was travelling with a group of eight friends. "We're really looking forward to it although our mothers are a bit worried," he said. "But all this talk about terrorism, floods, and petrol strikes won't stop us having a good time."
Jimmy Curtis (55) and Brendan Gray (57), friends from Coolock in Dublin, said they were travelling to their first Euro finals.
"We got a puncture just before we arrived in Rosslare. But the camper van is going well and we intend to have a great trip," said Jimmy. "Our attitude is that Ireland is going to win the tournament. It's the only attitude worth having."
John O'Brien (60) and his wife Mary (54) were travelling by car with their daughter Claire (22) and son Conor (14).
"I just want lots of goals against Sweden," said Mary, who said they will stay in Paris with her brother Mike Cannon.