IT’S BEEN A long 10 days over in Poland, the craic has been unbelievable, the trip and the experience has been everything we hoped it would be and more.
All except the football itself of course.
But we’ve waited so long for our team to qualify for a tournament again, ten long years, that win, lose or draw we were going to make sure we enjoyed ourselves as much as possible, were going to try and represent Ireland as best as we can and at least if the team weren’t successful on the pitch, at least people would say ‘those Irish seem like decent skins.’
So the Green Army descended on Poznan for one last party, one final day of mayhem to send ourselves home with yet more good memories of the atmosphere, the colour and the spirit of the travelling fans.
As is the tradition by now, thousands congregated around the main square in the city centre’s old town.
Thankfully the Gods decreed that finally we would again have a sparkling hot sunny day for our last bash. One of the fans had already got a flag done up with the message ‘A song for Roy’ emblazoned on it and the song and the message for Keano was loud and clear with the song going;
“We’ll sing when we want, We’ll sing when we waaaaaannntt, F*ck off Roy Keane, We’ll sing when we want.”
It’s a shame but that was the almost unanimous feeling amongst the travelling support.
Although it could be argued he had a valid point about accepting mediocrity hidden deep in his lengthy blast after the Spanish match, if you have a go at the fans, or at least you appear to have had a go, you’re on to a loser and it will take a while for him to be forgiven, if he ever will be at all.
There were one or two other chants about him too but this is a family publication so you can use your imagination as to the texture and colour of them.
The randomness of some of the Irish fans was at the forefront again, with some bright spark producing a few cabbages from somewhere.
These were duly booted around the square in a very short and messy game of keepy-uppy by the crowd (managed to get in a chant of ‘Keano is a cabbage’ in that time though!).
Unlike the other games when there was a good crowd of Croats and a sizable section of Spaniards, Italian fans were almost non-existent with only the occasional handful passing through the square which brought the chant;
“Home with the Irish, You’re going home with the Irish, Home with the Iiiiirrrrriiiisssshhhh, You’re going home with the Irish.”
Another cracking chant the last few days has been;
“You’re never gonna believe us, You’re never gonna believe us, You’re never gonna belieeeeeve uuus, The group is upside down”.
And on it went for the afternoon with song after song after chant, everyone determined to go out on a big one. At one stage two lads in kilts got up onto the steps, where the conductors led the singing, and whipped up the kilts to reveal, well I’m not sure what the skimpy little yolks were covering their bits, but it got a loud cheer and a good laugh.
One of the better aspects of matchdays has been the trip to the stadium itself, with people absolutely squashing onto the trams and singing to the amusement of the Polish commuters going about their daily business.
Last night though was absolute sardine stuff, with the heat of the day making it very uncomfortable.
The craic went on anyway with the chant, “Stand up for the Boys in Green” going up ironically due to the fact that absolutely nobody had the slightest option such was the lack of room.
The game itself felt a little different from the off.
We thought that the team was finally going to give us a moment, a performance, a result. As with the other two matches the Green Army outnumbered the opposition fans by at least four to one, although judging by the amount of times the television companies showed Italian fans on the big screen you’d think it was the other way round.
Anyway I’m not here to report on the game, you all saw that yourself. All I can say is that was a good bit more like it, we didn’t get the result but we at least acquitted ourselves well. And the fans sang from the first to the last, letting our former hero Keano know what we’d do and an amazing rendition once again at the end of The Fields of Athenry rounding off a truly amazing adventure.