It took the locals a while to get used to just how mad the Irish really are, but once they realised it was all good clean fun, they just joined in.
Although outnumbered by two to one, the Croats pulled out all the stops. It looked like having a flag which ran the length of the Old Square would be hard to top but Nikola Pirpac and Mario Vrankic managed to create all manner of havoc over the weekend by driving their camper-van into the heart of the main square and cracking open a few beers.
This quickly turned into a chance for every lunatic fan to party on top of the van, bellowing out Croatian football anthems. Even TV crews were getting in on the action.
Fans had been mixing well all week and Nikola was hoping Ireland will qualify to the knockout stages so we could party with them in the Ukraine.
“It is great to be here and it is good to see so many Irish people here. We love Irish fans but we are going to have to beat you. We are sorry but hopefully Ireland and Croatia can go through to the quarter-finals. This is what we hope but maybe it is not possible. We will see. But for today it is party time in Poznan.”
Football tournaments tend to make mini celebrities out of fans and media sensation of the week Damian Coughlan, who left his tickets behind him in Champion Sports in Dublin, was finally able to live it up with the man who saved his bacon.
“Don’t even ask about the tickets. They’re not on me. They’re under lock and key. It’s staying safe so I can’t bloody lose them again. Ronan, who found the tickets, is here and sure we are lashing into a few beers.”
Celebrities of another variety were also on show as Claudine Keane raised her stock no end among the fans by drinking in the Old Square and happily posing for photos.
Even Mayor of Poznan Ryszard Grobelny was surprised by his cult-like status among Irish fans after his foray onto YouTube in advance of the tournament.
“It’s crazy. People recognise me from that video. Lots of Irish fans come up to me and ask for a photograph and ask me if I am cheering for Ireland or Croatia.”
Dublin’s Colin O’Flaherty, travelling with three friends, was decked out in a bishop’s uniform in the Old Square and looked like a man needing a beer more than a prayer.
“We were here since Saturday so we are booked on some train for Sopot so that’s the next stop. It’s some spot and the craic is mad here. Sure we’ve had a few rough nights but we’ve plenty of Alka- Seltzers to sort us out.”
It was all about managing your time in order to peak at the very height of the madness and David Tuohy from Cork was not planning to make the same mistake twice.
“We will tear the arse out of it altogether tonight. I was in bed at midnight last night which is just not on at all. I peaked too soon, I think. I plan on peaking anywhere between 5am and 8.30am from now on. It’s the only way to do it. It’s been great so far; the Poles are great and there was great banter with the Croats.”
Apart from tickets and weather, the Polish women, who were exposing as much flesh as is legal in Poland, were the main talking point among the fans.
One exception was Stephen Beatty from Dublin, the green third of a human morph suit tricolour. A body odour sacrifice beyond what most fans are willing to make, the Dubliner was determined to wear it all the way to Sopot and all the way back again.
Lucky for him the suit got a mild rinse in the one downpour we’ve had in Poland all week.
“I’m sweating man, just sweating but so what. All the ladies want to get a picture with us. I’ll wear it all the way along and to all the games. This place was just great.”
Poznan, until next week, we bid you adieu.