Supporting from Down Unda
The clock was approaching 9 am, Anders Frisk was blowing his whistle to signal the end of normal time and I knew it was time to pick up the phone…. “Yeah, sorry about this, but my dental appointment got pushed back......it looks like I won’t be in for another hour”. Similar calls were being made throughout Australia that morning moments before Henry, Gallas et al dashed Ireland's World Cup dreams.
These are some of the considerations when following the boys in green from Down Under. Offices and sites from Sydney to Perth will be inundated with Irish fans “working from home” or calling in sick as Ireland meet Sweden in the opening game of Euro 2016. The timing of the opening match versus Sweden at 2am on Tuesday morning presents a dilemma for most, too early for going to sleep and setting the alarm and a dangerous time for hitting the 24 bars and making work the following day!
The timing of games is paramount, the malaise that meets an early Saturday kick off in Ireland is conversely the prime time slot in Australia. The Belgium game takes place at 11pm on Saturday night. This will result in a boisterous following from the opposite side of the world, with many preparing diligently from early on Saturday for the game. The main topic of discussion between most Irish is securing the right venue to watch the game. Recent emigrants will no doubt fill up the most popular Irish bars, the Cockn'Bull, Scruffy Murphys etc. Whilst the mature emigrants, will look for a tamer venue with the right balance between atmosphere and a decent spot to watch the action.
For others travelling and living in more remote parts of the world, a scramble to find a stream or radio commentary will occupy most of their thoughts over the coming weeks. They will experience an anguish and anticipation before each twitter refresh not felt since Leaving Cert results day.
Podcasts and websites will fill the void to an extent for the Irish fan abroad, but there’s something wrong with a major tournament beginning and you’ve yet to experience the wall to wall coverage that takes place at home. Missing out on the endless hours of pub discussions on Cyrus Christie's late season form or Seamus McDonagh's goalkeeping coach skills, means you are slightly more detached. You don’t quite live and breathe the 90 minutes when based 10,000 miles away. The docile tones of Tony O’Donoghue giving you the latest on Jeff Hendrick's fitness during the 6 o’clock news bulletin is something you just don’t get in Australia.
Regardless of all the above considerations and factors, the thought of not seeing Ireland play live in the European Championships is simply not an option. There is really no choice. When the teams make their way on to the Stade the France pitch next Monday, no matter what part of the world you are, we will all have the same feeling. Ireland in the Euros…..magic stuff, let’s f*cking do this!
By Ricky Walsh
Ricky is living in exile Down Under in Sydney, where he will be chewing his finger nails and furiously pacing about his apartment in the build-up to watching the Boys In Green at Euro 2016.
Follow Ricky @rickywalsh15