Monday 11 December 2017

Watch what happens when you try to drive through a crowd of Irish fans in France

Scenes outside the Tír na nÓg bar in Lille
Scenes outside the Tír na nÓg bar in Lille

Cathal McMahon and Mark McConville

Irish fans have been gathering in massive numbers again and this time the venue is Lille.

More specifically the Tír na nÓg bar on Place Parvis Michel and a nearby square have become a magnet for the green clad supporters.

However not all motorists got the memo to avoid the area.

Our video shows the moment one man drove into a crowd of up to 300 people shortly after 7pm yesterday.

The supporters surround him and start singing Olé Olé while one man attempts to climb on top of the vehicle.

However the remainder of the crowd starts to boo and he quickly dismounts.

Eventually the fans release their vice-like grip on the car and the motorist is able to continue his journey.

Later a local on a scooter tried to penetrate a far larger, and less sober, crowd.

After 11pm close to 3,000 fans had congregated outside the bar but that didn't put off this plucky driver.

Fans climbed on the back of his moped as he tried to navigate his way through a sea of fans, broken bottles and flying footballs.

Eventually the crowd made a path for him to drive through, willing him to motor on, but he decided to take a detour.

The Tír na nÓg and the surrounding area has become the unofficial fanzone for Irish supporters in Lille, causing heartbreak for its owner Alan Sheehan.

Bar Owner Alan Sheehan and daughter Gabriel in Lille
Bar Owner Alan Sheehan and daughter Gabriel in Lille

Mr Sheehan (44), who is originally from Maynooth, said he has recruited “everyone bar the chef's five-year-old daughter" to work behind the bar this week.

His daughter Gabriel (19) was working yesterday.

Sister Gaelle (18) finishes her Baccalauréat, the French equivalent of the Leaving Cert, but she won't have an opportunity to celebrate with pals. She will be behind the bar pulling pints for the Green Army.

Alan ordered in 190 kegs of Heineken yesterday but worries that it might not be enough to quench the travelling fans' thirst.

Asked how he is getting through the madness, Alan responds: “Painkillers”.

“We thought it might be crazy but this is just way bigger than we expected.”

The vast majority of fans are bringing their own booze to the square and Alan said it would be impossible to police this.

He has installed over two dozen bins around the pub and has pleaded with fans to take their rubbish away with them if the bins are full.

He asked the local authority for permission to install portaloos but this was not granted.

The bar was closed for a period last week after a number of Russian and English supporters rioted in the town.

“There are no riots this week but it is carnage,” said Alan.

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