Boys in Green to rescue of Austrian robbery victims
A YOUNG Austrian couple who had tickets to last night's World Cup qualifier stolen by pickpockets have been bowled over by the kindness of Irish fans who made sure they were able to attend the match.
Students Stefan Madlener (22), and his girlfriend Valeria Lampert (21), were shopping on Grafton Street when Valeria's wallet was stolen from her shoulder.
Valeria said it was the first time they'd travelled overseas for an international football match and that they chose the clash with Ireland because "we wanted to see Dublin and the Irish fans singing."
Asked about the theft, she told the Irish Independent: "They took the tickets for the game, my driving licence, my credit card, my Luas ticket and some cash."
The pair reported the incident to gardai and got in touch with an Austrian Football fan club, who contacted You Boys in Green (YBIG), the Irish supporters' organisation.
Two Irish fans Brian McDermott and Daryl Bolger organised a fundraising effort to the replace the couple's stolen cash.
Brian said he heard about the theft and thought: "that's not on, let's get a few quid together."
"Within 20 minutes the forum was going into overdrive with donations".
"We have donations up about €1,000", with the vast majority of that going to children's' charities supported by YBIG after some cash has been returned to the couple.
Meanwhile, the Football Association of Ireland was contacted and was able to provide replacement tickets in the Austrian fans' section of the Aviva Stadium for the big game.
YBIG founder Dave Byrne said: "I think it's great that so many fans made donations. It proves we're not just singers and drinkers. There's good hearts out there as well."