herald

Monday 11 December 2017

The partying Irish were poles apart say hosts

POLAND waved goodbye to Ireland last night with a flashmob singing The Fields of Athenry.

THE tournament hosts were sorry to see the Irish team crash out and 30,000 fans fly home.

Local officials last night contacted the FAI in the hope of getting the Irish team to appear on stage at the main fanzone, but perhaps unsurprisingly the offer was declined.

Massive media attention in Poland has focused on the Irish support in the wake of the Spanish game.

Poznan's Deputy Mayor Thomas Kayser told the Herald: "Everybody in Poznan says that we were so lucky to get the fans from Ireland. People love them in the city."

As the campervans pulled out this morning, fans said they will back. Already there is a speculation that Ireland could be invited back to play Poland in a friendly later in the year.

Ireland's Ambassador to Poland, Eugene Hutchinson, said: "We're getting an excellent response from the Polish people and media. The locals have been left breathless by the enthusiasm of the Irish fans. They have performed and behaved so well."

And fans on the ground say that the Poland has done itself proud.

Alison Ginty (22) from Knocklyon and Stephen Jones (26) told how a Polish couple came to their rescue after they were stranded at a train station late at night.

"We were in Gdansk enjoying a few drinks and had to get two trains back to our accommodation, but we missed the connection.

"There was a Polish couple who had been the fanzone earlier and saw us.

"They invited us to their house and they put us into their kid's bedroom for the night. It was so kind of them."

Orla Heffernan (29) from Portmarnock said: "It's absolutely brilliant. All the Poles are singing the Irish songs. Everybody we have talked to says they will come back on holidays."

Liz Heffernan (35) from Castleknock described the 'goodbye flashmob' as "a really lovely gesture".

"Win, lose or draw - or lose, lose, lose, as we do -- we will sing. The amount of people saying they will come back on holidays is amazing," she said.

Pauline Clifford (32) from Templelogue said: "I thought that they were so friendly. We got lost in Sopot and a guy spent 20 minutes helping us to find where we needed to go.

"We couldn't have got a better welcome."

kdoyle@herald.ie

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