Wednesday 22 November 2017

Only lucky few Irish fans to attend game

Conor Whelan with girlfriend Caoimhe at Old Trafford
Conor Whelan with girlfriend Caoimhe at Old Trafford

David Kearns

While hundreds of Irish Manchester United fans were left disappointed after Sunday's clash against Bournemouth was called off due to a bomb scare, a lucky few will get to see the Red Devils play in tonight's re-scheduled match.

"There will be a lot of disappointed fans watching the game from home this evening," said Conor Whelan (23). "Thankfully I wouldn't be one of them.

"I was speaking to a lad on Sunday who had flown over from Australia just for the last game of the season.

"Can you imagine that, coming all that way and then that happens? You'd be sickened."

Having just moved to Manchester from Nenagh, Co Tipperary, on Friday for work, Conor said Sunday's events wouldn't keep him away.

"I've no worries about the game today - it's just the final game of the season for me and the lads.

"I don't think there will be any problems. Certainly no bomb threats again anyway."

He added: "I think the situation was handled as well as it could have been.

"Everyone kept a level head and no one panicked. The atmosphere was very relaxed as we filed out of the stands.

"I don't think you can ask for more than that. Would it have made any difference if the threat had been genuine? I don't think so."

Conor's calm assessment of Sunday's incident wasn't shared by Galway native Helena Ní Ghiollabháin (22), who said she was "delighted to get away from Old Trafford" following reports that a suspicious device had been found.

"I was relived to get out because I was scared," admitted the young teacher.

"We were right across from the Sir Alex Ferguson Strand and could see the sniffer dogs searching the area.

"The only information we got was over the loud speaker telling us to remain in our seats. We were just sitting there thinking 'Oh my god, what's happening?'

"The worst thing was that people were on Twitter and Facebook seeing all the reports about a suspicious package . . . if they'd only told us what was going on, I would have felt better."

Among the disappointed fans was John Dunne of the Wexford Branch of the Manchester United Supporters Club.

"None of our lads will be over there today, which is a shame because a few of them would have liked to have been there for the last game of the season.

"It was a terrible disaster there on Sunday. I can't believe that the security got it so wrong . . . they're supposed to be trained to handle this stuff. Still, better that it was nothing but a cock-up than an actual terrorist attack."

Irish Independent

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