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Thursday 8 December 2016

'I know he'll be there with us' - emotions run high for family of tragic Dubs fan Alan Harris

The Harris family, Tracy with her children Alan (26) and Nicole (22).
The Harris family, Tracy with her children Alan (26) and Nicole (22).
The Harris family, Tracy with her children Alan (26) and Nicole (22).
The Harris family, Tracy with her children Alan (26) and Nicole (22).
The Harris family, Tracy with her children Alan (26) and Nicole (22).
The Harris family, Tracy with her children Alan (26) and Nicole (22).
The Harris family's Dublin jersey belonging to Michael Darragh McAuley that was draped over Alan's coffin.
Alan Jnr, Tracy and Nicole at a memorial match for Alan
Alan Harris

Sunday's epic battle between the Dubs and Kerry will be an emotional day for Tracy Harris and her family.

The Harris family have long been known as stalwart fans of the boys in blue, going on tour in their vintage van to support their footballing heroes through thick and thin.

But they were dealt a life- changing blow last June, when Tracy's husband, Alan, and his younger brother, Stephen, died when they were overcome by toxic fumes while working in an underground sewer in Portmarnock.

The Dublin team rallied around them in grief when the brothers died, and were generous with their time and gifts of jerseys and symbols of support.

Nervous

But these are nervous days for Tracy, her daughter Nicole and son Alan jnr.

And they are just as nervous for the rest of Alan and Stephen's family, who had to watch the Dubs almost being overtaken by Mayo in their first clash and being dumped out of the race.

"There were tears I can tell you," Tracy said.

"We actually watched those two Mayo encounters in Kusadasi because we were on the holiday we should have been on when Alan and Stephen died," she added.

Harris3.jpg
The Harris family, Tracy with her children Alan (26) and Nicole (22)

"They all know us out there now because we have watched many games there over the years.

"The pub even had a picture of Alan up during the game, and there was a banner to the brothers on the beach," Tracy explained.

"Dublin will win on Sunday. I can feel it," she told the Herald.

"We've spent the last few days doing up the front room in all the flags and colours, and with the jersey Michael Darragh MacAuley gave us, the one he wore in the 2013 final," Tracy added.

"It's something we always did if Dublin got to the final, and this year we decided it should be no different.

"Alan was always like a child at Christmas when Dublin were in the final."

Tracy also told how she had a dream about Alan this week, and it was set in Croke Park.

"I dreamt that I was near the railway end (in Croke Park) and I was looking for Alan but I couldn't see him.

"He was the only one not wearing a Dublin jersey and people were pointing him out to me. He was wearing his funeral clothes," said Tracy.

"When I saw him I was calling him but he couldn't hear me, then I started singing 'There's Only One Alan Harris' like we all did on the Hill in the first game after he died, and he turned around and gave me a smile and a look," she added.

"He came over to me then and put his arms around me and then I woke up in floods of tears," Tracy explained.

Cried

"I had to write it all down straight away in case I would forget the detail.

"I had to text it to myself so I would always remember it," she added.

Tracy will be in the Cusack Stand for Sunday's final.

"It will be a day of mixed emotions. The first game after Alan died I cried all the way through it," she said.

"He would have been beside me nudging me and saying 'did ya see that' or telling me to get off the phone.

"So all we can pray for is a good result. I know he'll be there with us," Tracy added.

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