Peter Reilly - Rockier Road to Poland

Tuesday + Wednesday 19 + 20 June

Tuesday + Wednesday 19 + 20 June

Ireland gave their most rousing performance of the tournament but the Italians eked through. There were a fair few empty seats in the stadium in Poznan but that was down to the absence of neutrals. A cagey game, the Italians looked a bit hesitant troughout it and invited Ireland on. They were sure the Spanish and the Croats were going to stitch them up with a 2-2 draw as happened when Trap was their manager eight years ago. They exploded with joy upon hearing Spain had done the business. Unfortunately, since the Spain game, have known I will not need to make the journey to Donetsk for the quarter finals now.

The fans were in full voice, in defiance of Roy Keane whose opinions travelled easily. Within a couple of hours of the Spain game, there were rumours flying around among the Irish supporters as to what he said on ITV, some exaggerated, some distorted, some accurate. They gave yet another blast of the Fields of Athenry as Ireland’s tournament drew to a close.

I left Poland today but not before coming across a couple of Tallafornians (not off the TV show, two blokes actually from Tallaght) at a bus depot. in Poznan. They’ve tagged along for the ride. Arrived up in Hamburg late this evening for a rest. Watched England-Ukraine match in Finnegans Wake, an Irish pub in the city. The owner was a Derry man and had been in Poznan and recognised me. We had a good laugh. After that, we meandered around the city, and took a quick jaunt down the infamous Reeperbahn district.

This morning we’re heading off to Holland (via Bremen). Over 4,000 miles on the clock...