Saturday 17 February 2018

Euro 2012: Blagger Conor Cunningham touches down in Poznan without match ticket

Conor Cunningham (centre) with an unnamed friend (left) and Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni. Photo: PA
Conor Cunningham (centre) with an unnamed friend (left) and Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni. Photo: PA
Conor gets close to the action pitchside
Conor Cunningham, from Ballincollig, Co Cork, who got in to the Ireland versus Estonia match at Lansdowne Road by donning an Estonia team tracksuit
Dublin GAA fan Stephen Molloy who pulled off a similar stunt at the All- Ireland Final in September
Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni. Photo: PA
John O'Shea, Robbie Keane, Kevin Doyle and Stephen Ward during a training session at Municipal Stadium, Gdynia, Poland. Photo: PA
Kevin Doyle, right, and Shay Given
(from left) Garry Doyle, Mark Fetherston, David Coyle and Tim Kielty from Allenwood Co Kildare who are were the 1st Irish camper van to arrive in Poznan yesterday ahead of the Euro 2012. Photo: Mark Condren

Ed Carty

A SELF-confessed chancer who blagged his way in to see Ireland qualify for Euro 2012 is hoping lightning strikes twice.

Conor Cunningham, 28, from Ballincollig in Co Cork, touched down in Poznan, Poland, today looking every bit the kit man who marched past security and into the game in Estonia last November.

With no accommodation, no transport and no tickets the ingenious fan is pulling out all the stops to see Ireland's opener against Croatia.

"I've nothing, basically. I'd flights, obviously, but I've nowhere to stay, no idea how I'll get to where I'm not staying and no way into the match," he said.

"I don't think I can manage something similar. But you never know, it might help me get tickets.

"I doubt I'll be able to pull a major stunt like the last time but I'll think of something. Hopefully people from home will know the face and I might get a ticket off someone who recognises me."

Mr Cunningham found himself on television networks after ignoring €600 a head tickets from touts and slipping through security in an Estonian team tracksuit to end up on the touchline of Tallin's Le Coq Arena for the match.

He even took a seat on the Estonia bench during the game.

The personal trainer then had the brass neck to soak up the post-match atmosphere on the pitch with a bag of balls over a shoulder and an arm round several of the Irish players to celebrate the 4-0 play-off win.

"I'd consider myself a bit of a chancer but I'd never done anyone like that before," he said.

"This time I'll just have to chance my arm wherever and whenever I can and see what happens when I go to the games - I might even chance my arm with some of the media boys but unfortunately I've had no offers."

Mr Cunningham is travelling with friend Steve Nolan, also from Ballincollig, who has few concrete plans himself.

"I've one or two friends who are going over by camper van already in Poznan and I'm hoping I can jump in with them. I'll see when I get there. I'm just sorted for my flights," Mr Cunningham said.

"I'll have to see what I can dig up when I get there."

The pair are in Poznan until the middle of next week and then Gdansk for two nights where at least one bed is all but guaranteed as Mr Cunnigham's brother is due to be in the city.

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