Roscommon Supporters’ Club set for Danish trip
This weekend the Green Army will fly to Copenhagen as the Republic of Ireland take on Denmark in the first leg of the crunch World Cup play-off. Among the thousands of fans flying out on Friday and Saturday will be a dedicated group of supporters from Co. Roscommon.
The Roscommon branch of the Ireland Supporters Club was officially established in 2015 and now boasts 14 members. Chairman and Castlerea native, Declan Murphy, says the group was established due to the interest in the international team among current and former Castlerea Celtic players.
“A lot of us would have been going to the matches anyway. Some of us would have played with Castlerea Celtic and there would have been a good (deal of) interest in soccer. We would meet each other at the Ireland games and did a couple of away matches and we said why not set up a supporters club?”
Members hail from Castlerea, Tulsk and Castleplunkett but come together for games in the Aviva and further afield.
“We’ve been to Austria and Wales so Copenhagen this weekend will make it three away trips this year. With the season tickets we’ve also done all the home games too,” says Declan.
Tickets to crucial international matches are like gold dust and Declan says the season ticket, purchased at the start of the year for €160, is the way to go in order to stand a chance of being there for the big nights. Being affiliated with a supporters’ club also helps and Declan says new members are always welcome in Roscommon.
So what exactly does your €160 get you and is it worth it?
“It’s hard watching them at times,” admits Declan, “but the good days are unbelievable. Since (Martin) O’Neill came in, the football hasn’t been great but we’ve had some brilliant days!”
Watching the Republic of Ireland can be a hard slog as Declan says but then again, there are those nights that make it all worthwhile.
“The day and night in Lille (v Italy in Euro 2016) was unbelievable. We never thought we’d beat them. The atmosphere was something else. The roof was closed and it was just Irish singing all around the stadium.”
Declan also remembers another, rather more infamous night in France back in 2009.
“I was there (in Paris) with a group of friends the night of the Henry handball. I just thought we were unlucky because we played class that night. We didn’t know what was after happening because we were at the other end of the stadium but after the game it was on social media and it started trickling through to the fans.”
That was a difficult trip but it wasn’t the worst, according to the supporters’ club chairman.
“The worst? Definitely Bratislava against Slovakia (drew 2-2). It was Stephen Ireland’s last game.
“I travelled on my own for that game and met the lads over there. I flew into Prague and then took a six-hour train to Bratislava. All I could think about was the movie ‘Hostel’, which was big at the time!”
This weekend there will be no six-hour train journey, just a two-hour flight on Saturday morning to the land of Hans Christian Andersen. So are Roscommon Ireland Supporters’ Club expecting an Irish fairytale?
“Well, with the luck we’ve had, you just wouldn’t know! A score draw and get home and keep it tight and hopefully we’ll go through on an away goal!”
Declan and his comrades will be flying the flag this Saturday in Copenhagen and next Tuesday night in Dublin and who knows, they might even be taking over Moscow’s Red Square next summer!Helen McDermott, Charlie O’Brien and Marie Glennon pictured at RosMed Pharmacy recently.