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Wednesday 21 March 2018

It's Joxer revisited as fans fuel up for the epic journey ahead

HE'S been known to buy fans a drink or two, so when FAI chief executive John Delaney landed in an Irish pub in Budapest a few inebriated minds hit on the same thought -- an open tab.

However, the man thought to be on around €400,000 a year didn't throw money behind the bar but settled in for a pint with supporters in the Hungarian capital for last night's Euro 2012 warm-up game.

Mr Delaney, who arouses different passions among Ireland fans, joked there'd be no free pints for a friendly game.

His generosity with the scoops has seen his stock rise slightly, after he paid around €5,000 for drinks for fans at an away game against Slovakia in 2010. And then last year, he walked into a bar in Tallinn and put money behind the counter.

Good thing he didn't shell out on Sunday night. It wouldn't look great if the man who last month launched a campaign on alcohol consumption at the Euros was buying bevvies for the boys.

Among the fans in Beckett's bar in Budapest were Dublin friends Bobby Sands, Dayo Brosnan, Abo McGrath, Willie English and Cormac O'Neill.

Also among their number was Caddler from Brisbane, who provided no more details about his name, because "everyone knows me as Caddler from Brisbane".

We did establish that he's been living in Australia for six years, and may come from either Leixlip or Dublin. The lads are Christy Moore's Joxer revisited, having first met during the great days of Euro '88 in Germany.

And like Joxer's mate Whacker, who had famously never set foot outside of Inchicore, Willie admitted he'd "never been out of the Dublin in me life" until that famous June 24 years ago.

"I met the boys in Germany on a bus," Abo said.

"We haven't looked back since. Willie and myself go to most away matches. We've been all over the world, and Dayo has been with us."

Abo added: "We've 10 nights booked in an apartment in Poznan and hopefully on then to the Ukraine, if we qualify. If not, we're going to go down to Krakow for two nights."

They have just one slight problem if Ireland don't get out of the group to play games in the Ukraine, and the lads head for Krakow instead: "We're very concerned that our dole money will be sent to the Ukraine," laughed Willie.

EURO 2012: The build-up See Sport

Irish Independent

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