herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

We're leaving, and Poland will be sorry to see us go

POLAND will be sorry to see the Irish leave tomorrow.

A radio station in Poznan reported that Irish fans managed to buy 56,000 pints of beer in the town's main square on the night of the Croatia game.

The people are grateful the Irish fans have distracted them from the negative side of the competition that has seen hooligans and racists try to steal the spotlight.

And the police say the Green Army have behaved with unmatched good humour.

Ireland has become a real story here. Even as the Poles made their own honourable exit from Euro 2012 on Saturday, it was our supporters who carried the night.

The Irish have embraced the locals in a way few would have expected. We were nearly as disappointed when they went down to the Czech Republic as when we lost to Spain.

Irish fans swapped their now smelly green shirts for red and white.

If Poland had managed to get out of their group, there is little doubt they would have had the backing of every Irish person here.

And last night the city broke into a chant of 'We all love the Polska'. We might be known for our Cead Mile Failte but the Poles would give us a good run for our money.

The travelling supporters are weary. Strepsils are like currency and Roy Keane's name is dirt.

Yesterday, one group of fans wore Keane masks they had bought in Champion Sports long before his outburst about sing songs.

"You'll definitely end up on Sky Sports wearing those," said one supporter: "Because you'll get a punch and end up in hospital."

But there would be more trouble in Temple Bar on a Tuesday than there has been involving the Irish here.



mad

Elsewhere, the hunt for Mick Wallace goes on. The soccer mad blond has not yet been spotted in Poznan but three fans decided to dress up as him last night.

They were seen drinking in the same area as sports minister Leo Varadkar.

The sense of anticipation in the build-up to the Spanish game is now gone.

It's no longer about getting a result. This is now about pride. We are going home and we are going to make sure everybody knows it.

hnews@herald.ie

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