Monday 21 May 2018

'I've spent enough money... so they better play a decent f**king game' - Fans in Lille start making demands

Annie Murtagh and inset Dáithí Purcell, Shane O'Sullivan and Brendán Casey
Annie Murtagh and inset Dáithí Purcell, Shane O'Sullivan and Brendán Casey
Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

With just hours to go before kick-off Irish fans in Lille are already making plans for the last 16.

Confidence is high in the French city and supporters say they will do everything they can to get that important win for the Boys in Green.

But fans say it is time for the team to stand up and "start doing their bit."

Brendán Casey (23) is originally from Charleville Co Cork but has travelled over from his home in Bangkok, Thailand for the tournament.

“We have been here for two weeks and we're drinking and we're singing for two weeks and morale is pretty low at the moment.

“We are hoping for something, a win, a goal will do, anything. We will take what we can.”

His pal Shane agreed: “We have done all we can, we need the team now to start doing their bit. Take the lead and we will get you through the rest, take the burden off us.”

The pals are travelling around in a campervan and they admit that they are “shook” after the last 10 days of singing and partying.

Dáithí Purcell (23), from Tramore, Co Waterford, said: “I can't wait for some clean clothes, me mother's cooking, a cuddle off me lack [girlfriend].”

But if Ireland win today then the cuddles will have to wait.

Brendán said: “We will cancel the flights straight away. We will motor on. We have the campervan until Friday so we will bring that back and then get a train to wherever.”

Shane added: “We will win first and worry about the rest later. Just tell the team we will be there.”

The Munster men are not the only ones making plans for the last 16.

Mick McDonagh (62) from Sligo joked: “Tomorrow I have to go to a funeral, because me granny died in Lille. If anyone's watching this in Ireland, I won't be in work tomorrow.”

Michael Ferriter (30) from Castlegregory, Co Kerry hasn't figured it out yet but he knows that he's staying if we qualify.

“I'll pretend to lose the passport and stay on for the next game.”

Michael and his friends Kevin 'Sweets' Kennedy (31) and Dónal O'Connor (30) – who are all from Co Kerry – struggled  to find accommodation in Lille last night so they slept in hammocks near the city centre.

They said it was comfortable and weren't troubled during the night.

Asked what he'll do if Ireland qualify, Gerry Smith (29) from Co Cork said: “I'll probably break up with the girlfriend, cancel what I do for a living and come back for a week.”

Tommy Byrne (29) got married three weeks ago and he spent his honeymoon in Fota Island Cork, where the Irish team were training before the tournament.

The Mullingar man then headed to France, leaving wife Joanne Cregg home alone.

“It's going to cost me a trip to New Zealand in the future, that's the promise, but I got here and I'm here to support the Boys in Green. She was fairly okay about it.”

Tommy is booked on a 3am flight back to Ireland tomorrow and is currently “in negotiations” for a last 16 qualifier.

“If we lose, we go home in the flight. If we win we will stay on for the week.”

But some fans have used up all their holidays and cash. Annie Murtagh (35), from Cavan, but living in Melbourne Australia said she has no choice but to head back down under.

But she wants to leave on a high.

“I've spent enough money over here. I came over for this especially so they better play a decent f**king game tonight.”

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