Tuesday 27 September 2016

A bar in the back, a BBQ in the front and a Garda escort: The green army's greatest van journeys to France

Published 09/06/2016 | 10:56

Thousands of Irish fans are about to descend on France as the Boys in Green begin their Euro 2016 odyssey but few, if any, will be travelling like this group of supporters.

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The Green Tigers Euro 2016 van has been kitted out to fan perfection - an amazing wrap pays tribute to Martin O'Neill's heroes on the exterior while the inside has been fitted with a bar, an astro turf floor and stocked with enough BBQ meat to last the tournament.

The van will hold a group of nine, with Ross Kelly from Castleknock one of the lucky fans who will traverse France in the party vehicle.

"Paul Hamilton is coming on the trip and it was his work van," Kelly explains.

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"He wanted to sell it but we thought it would be perfect for this. We went to Euro 2012 and thought the lads with camper vans were doing it right."

Their modified mode of transport can hold eight in the rear and three in the front, and although won't be at full capacity, their ample rations should take up the rest of the room.

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The bar in the back of the Green Tigers fan.

The group paid for their van through donations from local businesses and sponsorships from Toyota on the Long Mile Road and Hire Here, among others. They will also be the envy of every other supporter after being gifted a huge amount of food and drink.

"A local butcher gave us vacuum packed meat, enough for nine of us anyway," Kelly says.

"Molloys Off Licence gave us two crates of their craft beer, 'All Night Long' and a funeral home gave us a few crates too."

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While their back of the car bar will likely see their van swarmed in France, partying isn't the only thing on the group's mind. The raised €4000 for the Ronald McDonald House after raffling off six tickets to Ireland matches while they are also getting a Garda escort as they begin their journey from Scholars Pub in Firhouse this afternoon.

After spending so much time preparing the van, Kelly can't wait to arrive in France and start creating some magical memories.

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"I'm hoping we can meet some other fans with vans on the ferry over and form some sort of convoy," he says.

"I'm actually pretty confident that Ireland can do well over there."

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