Monday 9 December 2019

'To go to a major tournament with my's the stuff of dreams' – Son's heartwarming tribute to dad at Euro 2016 will have you in tears

Thousands of Irish fans are travelling to Euro 2016 with their brothers, fathers, sons and uncles.

And Dan Keogh's story really sums up what it means to be there with someone you love.

Speaking to in Montmartre, Paris, Dan, from South Dublin, almost broke down when he described what it was like to be at the tournament with dad Joe 'Hola' Keogh.

Dan (34) said: “I just want to bring him away for a great trip. He means the world to me. He has been an amazing support to me my whole life.

“It's actually how we connected all my life was through football. Having the banter, singing with fans, similar to what we are doing here. We both support Manchester United but Ireland is our pinnacle.

“To go to a major tournament with my father, and bring him there, it's the stuff of dreams.”

Joe (64), who lives in Sallins, Co Kildare, explained that he and Dan used to work as stewards at Irish games.

They were lucky to secure tickets for all of Ireland's group matches in Euro 2016 after Dan “spent his life” on the portal.

Joe explained what its like as a father to have his son on tour: “It's brilliant, it's a dream come true. “We used to steward at Lansdowne Road in the old Lansdowne Road so it is brilliant to be able to go to something like this. It's really tremendous.

“Dano organised everything, he booked hotels. He didn't pay for it of course but he organised everything.”

Joe's wife and Dan's fiancée are back in Ireland but they explained that they have been given a 'hall pass' to go out and have a good time.

This doesn't stretch to women, however, Dan quickly points out.

Both agreed that scenes in Marseilles between Russian and English fans would never be replicated by the Green Army.

Dan explained: “We just want everyone to have a good time, enjoy the tournament. Let's build each other up. There is no point in bringing each other down like the English fans in Marseilles. Let's build each other up and have an absolutely brilliant time.”

Brothers Patrick (38) and Robert Hegarty (44) travelled to the game with Robert's two sons Sean (25) and Ryan (19).

The four redheads were carrying a tricolour with the words 'Hegos on tour' embalzoned across the front.

Dubliners Patrick and Robert were in Poznan four years ago and this time they decided to bring along the next generation of Hegos.

Patrick said: “We wouldn't travel any other way. We all go together to all the games. It's the four of us, we go together. Back home the Dublin games, the Ireland games, always the four of us.”

Sean added: “We're brothers and they're brothers. It's two teams.”

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Patrick explained that they have strength in numbers if anything bad happens: “If anything goes wrong we are all together. If that was the case you wouldn't leave your house.”

Brothers Ciarán and Ronan Bolger also met up in Paris for the tournament. They travelled from Brussels earlier in the week and are hoping to return for the Italy game in Lille.

Ronan explained that his wife still doesn't know about the Lille trip, “so don't tell her” Ronan.

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