Our man in the van: Fans make plans for life after group stage games at Euro 2016

The mood among the Irish fans in Paris can best be summed up as “Que sera, sera” as contingency plans are already being calculated for what happens if the Boys in Green make it beyond the group stages.

Our man in the van: Fans make plans for life after group stage games at Euro 2016

Macroom, Co Cork natives Joseph and Brian have their return flights booked, but their third amigo Rob is taking each day as it comes.

Having trekked with Brian from Melbourne to be here, he’s in no rush to head home again.

“I’ve an open ticket, so I’ll see how they get on,” he said.

So far, the gang are booked into hotels in Paris and Bordeaux for the tournament.

“It’s €1,000 for five nights, but it sleeps four in two beds, so we’ll pack them in,” Rob said.

Like most fans who have travelled, the Macroom lads aren’t too bothered about the State of Emergency declared in France.

“If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen,” Brian said.

“It’s probably the safest place in Europe,” he said of the security.

“The mothers are more worried than we’re worried,” Joseph said.

One group were just happy to be in France at all after the last minute hitches that hit their plans.

“We originally had a campervan booked but the company went bankrupt. We’re still staying in the campsite but we’ve upgraded to the chalet. It was flooded there until the weekend, but it’s been okay since Tuesday,” Colm Nolan from Wexford revealed.

Like the others, he is philosophical about any threat to fan safety.

“If you watch the news you’ll see there’s so much security, people are still walking around Paris enjoying themselves. It doesn’t seem too scary anyway. What will happen will happen,” he said.

Colm is over with his friends Ross Turner, Ian O’Byrne, and Mark O’Regan from Wexford, and the gang are quietly confident about our chances, especially against Sweden, who they say are the weakest of Ireland’s three opponents ‘on paper’.

“We’re a far better team than we were four years ago. We may not be the best team in the world but Martin has them playing well together. As long as we’re not embarrassed, that’s the main thing,” one of the lads reckoned.

The lads check themselves however, and it doesn’t take long for memories of Poland to resurface, the conversation turning to what happened at the last European Championships when we fancied a result from our opening game.

But holding onto that initial optimism, what do the lads plan to do if we defy expectations and go far in this tournament?

“Sickness for the next month off work,” one suggests “We have four girlfriends — that might be no more,” another warns of a prolonged stay.

“So it’s a plus-plus then?” a third quips.

What will be, will be.

Plans to chase Boys in Green backfires

Joe Leogue

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