Wednesday 20 September 2017

Green Army refuse to let the blues take hold after defeat

Fiach Kelly On the road to Gdansk

THE message scrawled across a tricolour tied to the back of a campervan leaving Poznan yesterday summed it up nicely.

"We won't go quietly."

The roadshow has moved on, and Irish fans want as much distance between them and the trauma of Sunday's comprehensive defeat against Croatia.

But the despair that hung over the estimated 35,000 in Poznan was lifting last night as fans journeyed north towards Gdansk for Thursday night's match against Spain.

There's a determination now to enjoy the next week, and hope that the matches against Spain and Italy may yield something.

Gary Coffey (33) and David Morrissey (33), both from Athenry, arrived last night in rainy Torun -- the city half-way between Poznan and Gdansk, where hundreds of Irish fans have made home for now.

"You'd have to be optimistic, anything could happen," said Mr Coffey. "The atmosphere hasn't totally deflated us. I was deflated last night but I'm not now."

Poznan quickly emptied yesterday morning, as bleary-eyed Irish took the bus, train, or started their campervans.

Understandably, there hadn't been much celebrating around the city centre after the Croatia game, but riot police had to step into the main square at one stage as local hooligans attempted to cause trouble.

Some took a more taxing form of transport, with Paul McGinley (32) from Kilkenny and Aidan Potter (33) from Trim, Co Meath, pedalling to Gdansk. They've been cycling since they arrived in Berlin last week. "Over many pints at Christmas it sounded like a good idea," said Paul, but Aidan called it a "a cracking idea".

"You'd be getting tired and the boys in the campers would go past and they'd see the colours and give you the beeps," added Aidan, who's still on the search for a Spain ticket. "That gives you a bit of impetus and keeps you going."

Just down the main Poznan-Gdansk road, Ronan Hayes (30) from Sixmilebridge, Co Clare, pulled his campervan up at a filling station with Denis Riordan (40) and Darren Ryan (30).

"We've to keep positive and look, we might sneak a goal against Spain," he said. "If we sneak a goal against Spain, it will give us something to sing about, give us a bit of craic. Irish people in general are all upbeat. But a lot of people might not go back to Poznan for the Italy game if we lose to Spain," he added.

Irish Independent

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