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Euro 2012: Supporters splashing out on trip are 'Hungary' for success

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From left, Irish fans Paddy McKeown, John Dillon, Seamus Healy and Kieran Long at the Szechenyi Baths in Budapest
yesterday ahead of Ireland's warm-up game tonight

From left, Irish fans Paddy McKeown, John Dillon, Seamus Healy and Kieran Long at the Szechenyi Baths in Budapest yesterday ahead of Ireland's warm-up game tonight

From left, Irish fans Paddy McKeown, John Dillon, Seamus Healy and Kieran Long at the Szechenyi Baths in Budapest yesterday ahead of Ireland's warm-up game tonight

IT's getting near the time the mammies, wives and girlfriends of Ireland wave goodbye to the troops heading east.

Scrub the cheeks, wag the finger, wave the hankie -- the Green Army is finally on the move. Destination: Poznan, for Ireland's opening game of Euro 2012 against Croatia on Sunday.

But even though it is still relatively quiet on the western front, a dedicated few have arrived in Budapest for Ireland's final warm-up game against Hungary tonight.

So while the camper vans have yet to trundle, backfire and burp their way across Europe, a pocket of fans were enjoying the sun yesterday on a scorching hot day in Budapest.

But it was just an accident that four pals -- John Dillon from Tallaght, Paddy McKeown from Doora, Co Clare, Seamus Healy from Ennis and Kieran Long from Knocknagoshel in Kerry -- ended up in the Hungarian capital for tonight's match.

They booked flights to the city the minute Ireland qualified for the tournament, figuring it was an easy base to reach Poland or Ukraine.

"We just booked Budapest and we got lucky then because the Hungary match was fixed for here," said Seamus.

"Bit of sun, bit of fun. We're flying up to Krakow for three days and then we're heading into Poznan.

"There's around 20 or 30 of our mates heading into Poznan coming from everywhere -- Vienna, Prague, Amsterdam. They're coming from Australia and Canada too.

"There's a band coming in a camper, they've got their instruments and all. They'll be parked up in the Carlsberg campsite in Poznan."

Confident

But the four lads have slightly more exotic digs when they get to Gdansk for Ireland's match against Spain.

"We're staying in an apartment, it's part of a monastery," said Paddy.

And the boys are confident Ireland can do well.

"We've got the quarter-final tickets booked anyway," added Seamus. "We haven't got the semis yet but we'll see."

The Feighoney family, from Watford, England, were also confident as they supped on beers outside Beckett's Irish bar. Avid Ireland fans, they're heading home after tonight's match before heading to Poland.

"I can see us beating Italy," said Ivan Feighoney, who also cautioned that a loss to Croatia in the first game would be disastrous.

Less than a week now -- come on you boys in green.

Irish Independent