Euro 2012: The Green Army moves out as 1.2 million prepare to watch on TV
A MASSIVE 32,000 strong green army is invading Gdansk for Ireland’s second Euro 2012 game against Spain on Thursday.
And it emerged today that Ireland’s losing clash against Croatia was the most watched sports event since the 1994 World Cup.
An average of 1.23m people tuned in for last Sunday’s game.
As the nation put the disappointment of defeat behind us, all roads yesterday and today lead to the Polish city.
Although the pot at the bookies is not expected to be as large for the second of Ireland’s three games.
Up to €20m was lost by punters who had banked on a win or draw against Croatia – rather than the crushing 3-1 defeat.
The journey to Gdansk continued this morning as Irish campervans rolled out of Torun, where they stopped off last night after leaving Poznan.
Torun really laid it on for the visiting Irish, and the town is hosting an Irish day at the end of the week with a football tournament among the activities planned.
Members of the 'You Boys In Green' fan group have made the city their base for the entire tournament, travelling to Poznan and Gdansk to the matches.
Torun is cheap when compared with other cities, with a berth for a campervan in a campsite costing as little as €10, with beer cheaper than elsewhere too.
It's also beautiful, sitting on the banks of the Vistula river
Alan Healy and his son Georgie (8), from York Street in Dublin, also pulled into Torun last night - not that they meant to ever arrive here.
"We were supposed to be in Gdansk but we took a wrong turn somewhere along the way," said Alan.
Yesterday President Michael D Higgins has urged Irish fans to keep singing despite the devastating opening to the Euro 2012 campaign.
In an upbeat mood while meeting fans in the old market square in Poznan, the President said he enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere created by the 30,000-strong green army.
"The singing was great before -- and even better then after," he said.
"The fans were fantastic last night and I want them all to keep singing."
Meanwhile, one Irish fan travelled to Poland on his wife's passport by mistake, only to be refused entry by immigration officers.
When the blunder was spotted by Polish police, the man rang his wife, who rushed to a garda station to have his correct travel documents scanned and sent to the airport.
Don’t miss tomorrow’s print edition of the Irish Independent for Fiach Kelly's exclusive diary with the Irish fans in Poland