YOU KNOW THE current ad that poses the question ‘What would you do for tickets to Euro 2012?‘
Well it’s one thing learning a few bars of the Fields of Athenry in Polish or offering to part company with that beloved old football shirt of yours but agreeing to spend two weeks, cycling on average 110km per day, on the back of a bike in order to catch Trap’s Army take on world champions Spain is a step too far for most.
Pedal to Poland is a charity event which is challenging nine willing Ireland supporters to travel 1,500km from Dublin, through the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and on to Gdansk in aid of Arthritis Ireland, Headstrong and Renewable World.
And like so many other ingenious plans, it was one hatched over a couple of pints. Friends Matthew Boyd, Conn McCluskey, Steve McArdle and Declan Arthur were bouncing ideas around about going to June’s tournament when the suggestion of also raising money for a number of worthy causes was made.
We were sitting in the pub watching a match and thinking how do we get to the European Championships,” Arthur told TheScore yesterday.
Having experienced unforgettable moments at Italia ’90 and the World Cup four years later, they were desperate not to miss out on the rare chance to see the Boys in Green on the continental stage.
The planned route. Credit: PedaltoPoland.com
So it was decided that they would assemble a team and raise €3,000 each prior to the trip. After rounding up their final squad, a couple of months training and several fundraising events followed.
Stena agreed to waive their ferry fees,Volkswagon have kindly sponsored them a support van to carry their equipment, their bags are all packed and they are due to depart today.
The sheer distance of their journey means they will only be somewhere between Anklam in Germany and the north-western Polish town of Gryfice when Ireland kick-off their Group C involvement with the game against Croatia on June 10 but, all going according to plan, the lads will arrive in Gdansk right on time for the Spain fixture.
With a bit of the luck, we will still be in with a shout of progressing going into the final game with Giovanni Trapattoni’s native Italy and depending on their various commitments, some of the cyclists are even hoping to continue on to Poznan before returning home.
To donate to Pedal to Poland, visit www.pedaltopoland.com