Two tribes go to roar!
Two tribes of Irish sporting fans were united yesterday as they set off for foreign lands to cheer on the boys in green in crucial ties.
For rugby fans it was a short trip to Cardiff ahead of their toughest World Cup match of the tournament so far against France.
Both teams have already qualified for the quarter-finals, but the loser of the tie will face New Zealand in the next round, while the winner will take on Argentina.
Football fans were jetting out from Dublin Airport yesterday on the longer journey to Warsaw, where Ireland will be hoping for a win or high-scoring draw to automatically qualify for next year’s European Championships in France.
While there was some friendly rivalry between the supporters of the different sports yesterday, fans said they will be cheering on both teams today.
Dubliners Paul Glackin, from Baldoyle, joked with rugby fan George Miller, from Rathgar, that rugby was a “bit elitist” and football was the better sport.
“We actually have to qualify for tournaments in the soccer,” he said.
However, while football is his favourite sport, he said he’ll still be cheering on the rugby team.
Paul, Sean, Ian and Gary Lewis from Balbriggan, Co. Dublin and Naas, Co. Kildare, were flying out to Warsaw.
Sean said: “I think 1-0. We’ll definitely go for the win. I’d say it will be a late goal like the last time.”
Fans Paul Glackin (Baldoyle) and George Miller on right (Rathgar) and pals at the airport heading out to the rugby in Cardiff and the soccer in Warsaw
“I think maybe what he’ll do is bring Long on with 25 minutes to go. He has the pace to get up there. It’s nervy.
Paul said had no idea Ireland would be in contention to qualify at this stage.
“We’ve had this booked for months. After what happened against Scotland we didn’t think there’ d be anything to play for in this game so we were just treating it as a holiday. It’s a lot more than that now.”
Michelle Curran and Trisha Glancy from Dublin and their pals Frances Douglas from Clane, Co. Kildare, and Hilda Mackey from Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, were flying out to Cardiff for the rugby.
Trisha said: “Please God we’ll do it. It’s going to be really tight, but we can do it.”
Hilda said that even if Ireland don’t win today they could still recover.
“If we’re going to win the World Cup we’ll have to play New Zealand at some stage. They haven’t fully kicked into top gear, so it might be better to play them earlier.”
Tony Redmond, his son Ciaran Redmond and their pal Darragh Joyce were flying out to Warsaw.
The men, from Finglas in Dublin, are collectively known as the ‘Fatheads on Tour’.
Ciaran and Tony are both referees and think a fair result would be an Ireland victory. Ciaran said today’s match will be his 28th Ireland away game despite being only 22.
Brian Lee from Kerry was also heading off to the football. While he was delighted with the win against Germany, he said it still didn’t make up for Kerry’s loss to Dublin in the All-Ireland.
While many were only jetting off yesterday, there were plenty of fans already in Warsaw.
Shane Long's historic goal against Germany
Cian O’Connor, from Skerries in Dublin, flew out on Friday. He is predicting Ireland wins in both rugby and football.
“It’s going to be a great day for Irish sport. We’re going to watch the rugby in a pub here,” he said.
“Hopefully we’ll have just enough time to celebrate a win and grab a quick bite to eat and then we’re off to the stadium for the second Irish victory of the day.
“The atmosphere is great here in Warsaw and it’s going to be even better after the match. I’m already practising my French for next year.”