Sometimes the Irish soccer team have fans diving for cover behind the couch, but not Dubliner David Feeney.
The Australian resident has forked out tens of thousands of euro to secure TV rights for next week’s game against Sweden.
Feeney, 38, from Deansgrange, was so fed up with having to listen to a World Cup qualifier against Austria in March on internet radio, he decided on a new ploy, bagging the rights himself.
Now he is going to watch next Friday’s World Cup qualifying clash with Sweden in one of Sydney’s biggest casinos — and has even invited Ronan Keating along.
Speaking from his home in Sydney, where he has lived for the past 15 years and where he works in IT sales, Feeney said the deal with German firm Kentaro cost “tens of thousands of dollars” but that he is hopeful of breaking even.
He used to be able to watch most of Ireland’s games on the Australian version of Setanta but said that its coverage “drifted away” in recent years as the station expanded.
The father of two, whose wife Lesley is also from Dublin, contacted a former classmate in RTÉ and sought advice before going to Kentaro, which turned down his initial bid.
Having just sold his house in Sydney, he managed to raise his offer and now faces added nerves as Trap’s men take on the Swedes in a match that could decide who takes second place in the group behind Germany.
“I struck a deal with a horse-racing satellite channel and they are getting the games into venues around the country,” David said.
He admits he could have secured the rights to the game after the Sweden match but held off — “if we are beaten by Sweden, we’re stuffed”, he predicted.
So, as an insurance policy, he also picked up the rights to the England v Ukraine game with the hope that its wider appeal will help him cover his costs.
“I am confident I can make it back and break even,” he said, a little nervously.
As for his plans for around 5am local time next Friday, he said: “I am going to watch it in the casino. Ronan Keating is in Sydney at the moment, he’s a judge on Australian X Factor and I’m tying to get him to come along.”
The former Boyzone warbler could be joined by abother well-known Irish in Australia with former Kerry footballer Tommy Walsh, now of the Sydney Swans, likely to attend following a chance meeting with David in a restaurant.
And Feeney’s dream scenario? A win and his subsequent securing of the rights to a World Cup play-off match against England.
So the Boys in Green have another reason to secure three points against Sweden. No pressure, lads...
Venues showing the matches on Channel 33 in cooperation with media partner the Irish Echo include the 24/7 Sports Bar at The Star and Scruffy Murphy’s in Sydney, The Celtic Club in Melbourne, Treasury Casino in Brisbane, Adelaide Casino and SKYCITY Darwin.
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