'We couldn't just not go' - Teen brothers travelled to Euros to mark father's tragic death
A pair of brothers who travelled to the Euros to mark their father's untimely death just nine months ago say they go home with “no regrets”.
Darragh (19) and 17-year-old Jack Noone have spent nearly three weeks following the Boys in Green around France.
They told Independent.ie that they planned the trip after their football-mad father Ray died, aged just 55, from cancer.
“He passed away about nine months ago and he had been to everything,” explained Jack.
Darragh added: “This would have been our first chance to go away with him. We said, 'we have to go, we can't just not go'.
“He had been to Italia '90, the US, Korea/Japan the whole lot.”
Jack explained that they made Euro 2016 their mission for the year. They booked flights before the draw was made and struck lucky by selecting a flight to Paris – where Ireland played their first game against Sweden.
“We just saved up for the year, this was our one thing that we were looking forward to and eventually we got a bit of money and here we are.”
After flying into Paris they travelled to Bordeaux and Lille for Ireland's remaining two group games.
Jack said: “We had our three games planned and after that it was a struggle to get down to Lyon but we got there in the end.”
Their mother flew in for yesterday's game and flew out last night. Ray and Darragh are due to return to their home in Stillorgan, Dublin on Wednesday.
Asked if their mother was okay with them travelling over for the games Darragh said: “Our mother was real cool, It was her idea because our dad had been to so many major tournaments. We wanted to head over for this one obviously.”
Asked if they had any regrets the pair responded: “We have absolutely no regrets at all. Everything was incredible.”
The vast majority of Irish fans have now made their way home but some groups are still negotiating their passage.
Paddy Mullen (21), his brother Kevin (19), their friend Michael Fitzgerald (20) and new pal David Kinsella travelled over in a Skoda Octavia last Friday and they have been sleeping in the car ever since.
The four haven't washed since Friday and they explained that they were warned not to pitch their tent in Lyon as they will be mistaken for prostitutes.
Kevin explained: “We were in Kilkenny on Wednesday night watching the match. We were saying when we got a few drinks into us that if they win we are just going to go to France.
“Everyone was laughing at us saying 'yeah right, you're drunk you're not going to do it'.
“But we're here now and it's been incredible."
Paddy, Kevin and Michael booked the ferry on Thursday evening.
They spent a night in Tours and have been living in a car park in Lyon ever since.
“We are looking forward to a shower,” they agreed.
Dylan Armstrong (25) and friend Paul Comerford (25) travelled over from Ashbourne on Saturday morning for the French game.
They were lucky to get tickets for the match and managed to blag accommodation with a friend living in Lyon.
Asked whether it was worth it, the pair both agreed that it was.
Dylan said: “The result was heartbreaking and devastating. But for 60 minutes we were in heaven. I don't regret one thing.”
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