Thursday 19 October 2017

Game on: Poznan mayor plans soccer friendly for Dublin

Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

TALKS are under way for Ireland's Green Army to return the hospitality given to them in Poland, it has emerged.

The Mayor of Poznan announced that football chiefs plan to host a friendly match in Dublin in February, followed by one in his home city.

Ryszard Grobelny paid tribute to the Irish fans, saying their behaviour was exceptional during Euro 2012 as they turned his city into a sea of green.

"I hope lots of Polish fans will come to Dublin and Dublin will become white and red this time," he added, speaking through an interpreter.

While commending supporters, the mayor said the death of Irish fan James Nolan at the tournament had been tough on Polish people, who had joined the search for the student.

"It is always very sad when something wrong happens to someone who was invited to Poland," he said.

"It was a very tough experience for Polish people because we didn't expect such a kind of thing."

During his visit to Dublin, Mr Grobelny met President Michael D Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain, Dublin Lord Mayor Naoise O Muiri at the Mansion House, and football fans in Donoghue's Bar, where he vowed to drink Irish beer.

He will officially open the Kings Of The Craic! photo exhibition tomorrow.

The city of Poznan has organised an outdoor exhibition of 20 large format images - at the Summer House in St Stephen's Green - capturing the best moments of the Boys in Green invasion of Poznan during the Uefa Euro 2012 tournament.

Fans can also add their own photo memories to a special website: http://fotoportal.poznan.pl/galeria/wspomnieniaeuro

The mayor hopes the exhibition and proposed matches will build relations between the cities and countries.

He revealed his first impression of Dublin was a nice atmosphere and weather like home.

"There are lots of people on the street and they keep smiling," he added.

"And the crisis people talk about is not visible here."

Mr O Muiri thanked his counterpart for the photographs of the Irish fans.

"In doing so he is acknowledging their support, good nature and exemplary behaviour during the recent European Championships in Poland," he said during a small reception at the Mansion House.

"It is fitting that Uefa have named the Irish fans as the best at Euro 2012 - they are a credit to Ireland."

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