Thursday 29 September 2016

Lyon-based Irish barman stockpiles Guinness as thirsty Green Army arrive en masse

Cathal McMahon

Published 24/06/2016 | 20:30

Adrian Walsh with his daughter Julia and son Ronan. Picture Mark McConville
Adrian Walsh with his daughter Julia and son Ronan. Picture Mark McConville
Julia Walsh in Lyon - Picture Mark McConville
Jean Cotte, Peter Cocks, Wayne Durnin and Ray Fenlon in Lyon. Picture: Mark McConville
Jimmy Dunne (62) is in Lyon with his wife Eleanor (60) their son Ian (39). They are joined by friends Gar Reidy (60) and 38-year-old Liam McEvoy. Picture: Mark McConville

An Irish barman has told how thoughts of joy soon turned to panic after Robbie Brady's late goal.

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Adrian Walsh runs the popular Johnny's Kitchen bar in central Lyon.

He was in Lille on Wednesday night to watch Ireland's historic victory over Italy but the realisation dawned on him moments after the final whistle that he could be busy this weekend.

“The first thing that went through my head as the goal was scored on Wednesday night was 'yay'. Then it was 'what's going to happen?'

Adrian Walsh with daughter Julia, nephew Finn and nieces Maya and Aine
Adrian Walsh with daughter Julia, nephew Finn and nieces Maya and Aine

“On Thursday morning I was phoning all the beer distributors and saying 'You know the order I put in for this weekend, forget about it'.

“I just put in the biggest beer order I've ever done ever in my life.”

Dad-of-two Adrian said he ordered 250 kegs of mostly Guinness, lager and cider.

Fans were already starting to trickle into his bar and the nearby Johnny Murphy's on Rue St George tonight.

By coincidence his sister Niamh has travelled to Lyon this weekend from Queensland, Australia with her children Finn (11), Aine (9) and five-year-old Maya Corser.

Although he is raised in Australia, Finn explains that he is a true boy in green.

Jimmy Dunne (62) is in Lyon with his wife Eleanor (60) their son Ian (39). They are joined by friends Gar Reidy (60) and 38-year-old Liam McEvoy. Picture: Mark McConville
Jimmy Dunne (62) is in Lyon with his wife Eleanor (60) their son Ian (39). They are joined by friends Gar Reidy (60) and 38-year-old Liam McEvoy. Picture: Mark McConville

“It's amazing that it is on this weekend. There are so many people. The header in the final five minutes of the game was amazing. It was really timed perfectly and it was  just a great victory.”

Jimmy Dunne (62) is in Lyon with his wife Eleanor (60) their son Ian (39). They are joined by friends Gar Reidy (60) and 38-year-old Liam McEvoy.

Kilkenny people are used to success and this fivesome were no different.

They booked one-way tickets to France, anticipating that Ireland would make it through to the Round of 16 or further.

Eleanor said: “We had full faith in the team from the start. We have booked flights home next Monday, because we have to go back then. We can come back for the quarter finals though.”

Gar explained that the partying is starting to take its toll. “It's tough, it's murder at my age.”

Wayne Durnin (40) and Ray Fenlon (36), from Crumlin were playing a game of football alongside the River Rhone this evening.

They travelled over in a nine-seater Ford Transit van with a group of pals and have been following the team around the country since.

Wayne said: “We had no accommodation booked after the Italian game. If we got beaten we were going to head straight to Calais and then home.

Jean Cotte, Peter Cocks, Wayne Durnin and Ray Fenlon in Lyon. Picture: Mark McConville
Jean Cotte, Peter Cocks, Wayne Durnin and Ray Fenlon in Lyon. Picture: Mark McConville

“When we won, we headed back to the square in Lille, slept there for a few hours. At 5.30am we started driving.”

The pair say that their finances are dwindling.

Ray said: “There's plenty of support from back home, that's the main thing. Family and friends sending over bits and pieces.”

They have been unable to secure tickets for the game but remain hopeful of a “miracle”.

Jim Foley (57), from Rathfarnham and pal Reggie Doonan (37) from Crumlin are also on the ticket hunt.

Jim explained that he was forced to dramatically change his plans when Robbie Brady catapulted the Irish team to victory.

Like most others, they do not have tickets for the game.

Jim said he is missing a special occasion by being in Lyon: “It is my wife Anne's birthday on Sunda so I am going to miss that. She told me to stay.

“She was very understanding.”

He explained that it is not the first time he has missed her birthday because of the Irish football team: “I was in Japan in 2002 and I went to Korea for the last 16 so I have form in this regard.”

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