ASIDE FROM THE actual football on the pitch, for the Ireland games at least, this has been a wonderful trip, everything we hoped it would turn out to be and more.
From the friendly and accommodating hosts to the colour and passion of the travelling Irish hordes, everything has come together more or less perfectly to make it an amazing eight days so far.
Memories that will stay with us for a lifetime have happened in Poznan and Gdansk and hopefully there will be some more back in Poznan again today for the team’s last opportunity to do themselves justice.
A large part of the fun has been the many characters we’ve met along the way; from the two lads dressed up in full Bosco rig-out, including the box around them, to the gang of lads who turned up for the Spanish game dressed head to toe in FAI suits complete with John Delaney-style grey wigs, to the two lads who somehow managed to acquire Honey Monster suits and wore them with Richard Dunne Ireland kits over them in the stifling heat. The personality and the craic has been an absolute pleasure.
But with this being a horde of Irish on the piss there have also been all manner of wild and weird stories of people’s adventures and what they have being getting up to over here the last week or so.
With an early bus journey down to Poznan today and my insides bruised and battered from the last week of mayhem over here, last night was a well-earned break for me from the bars and the clubs. But of course a column about my evening lying in the room watching Polish soap operas on television wouldn’t make for a good read so what I’m doing for you is presenting you with a few of the funniest/oddest tales I’ve heard from over here.
Of course, what happens on tour stays on tour so I’ll be protecting the identities of anyone I personally knew who was involved in any of the stories!
- We’re staying in a hotel on the outskirts of the city which is a bit of a pain because it requires a 20 minute taxi ride to get into the city. On our way in the other day we saw someone we’d met over here looking a bit worse for wear in the middle of the motorway so stopped the car to see if he needed a lift. Turns out the lad in question had woken up about an hour previously in a forest outside the city limits, asleep under a tree with absolutely no recollection of how he got there. He’d been out on the lash in the city centre the previous night and still had all his possessions still on him so how he ended up asleep in a forest outside Gdansk was a complete and utter mystery to him.
- One drunken gentleman ended up so drunk in a club that somehow he lost the following; his mobile phone, his camera, his t-shirt, his jeans, his jocks and his shoes. He had to make his way back to his hotel in his socks, which he’d proudly managed to keep a hold of, and in a g-string that the club he was in had, rather bizarrely, in the lost property drawer. He managed to somehow still have his wallet and avoided arrest on his way home to his hotel.
- Some of the accommodation over here is relatively Spartan and one lad was staying in a hostel in a room with no door. He came back one morning very much worse for wear, went to sleep and when he woke up later that afternoon the workmen had been in and had fitted the room with a door. For which he had no key and they had helpfully left locked for him. The people running the hostel had gone out for the evening to watch the Poland match so he was trapped in his sweat-box of a room for a number of hours with a murderous hangover, a fierce thirst and no water and reckoned he was close to losing his marbles at one stage.
There are many more tales, some of them printable, some of them not so but I hope this gives you a flavour of some of the antics of the Green Army in Poland, in some cases very messy, in some cases pretty funny but in all cases in good spirit.
Today sees the last day for many over here and here’s hoping that the best and most memorable tale of the trip will be about an Irish victory over the Italians in Poznan tonight – come on the lads.