Football fans with a van all set for charity trip to Poznan

Around 20,000 Irish soccer fans are expected to make the trip to Poland in June and for five of them the rocky road to Poland will be a long but rewarding one.

Around 20,000 Irish soccer fans are expected to make the trip to Poland in June and for five of them the rocky road to Poland will be a long but rewarding one.

“The Lads Trip to Poznan” will see five local friends driving a van across Europe to follow the Irish soccer team in the European Championships, which are being held in Poland and Ukraine throughout June and to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society.

Killian Ryan from Calverstown is one of the five making the trip, alongside Cormac O’Connor and Shay Geoghegan from Valleymount, Wicklow, Kieran Dowling from Slieverue, Kilkenny and Kyle Fitzpatrick from Rosslare, Wexford.

“Cancer is something that has affected nearly everyone so we thought it’d be a great cause,” said Shay, 23. “Everyone in the group agreed on it.”

Their trip started last Monday 4 June, when the guys took the ferry to Cherbourg in France.

They will drive across the continent to Poland, where all three of Ireland’s group games in the competition will be played.

“We’ll drive across through Bruges, Amsterdam and Berlin and we’ll be in Poznan for Ireland’s first game (against Croatia) on 10 June,” explained Cormac, 23. “Then we’ll go to Gdansk for the game against Spain (14 June) and back to Poznan for the Italy game (18 June). The ferry back is on 25 June so we might spend a week driving around Europe.”

With so many Irish fans going over, tickets have been in short supply and Shay revealed that the group have only got tickets for two of the games. “It’s very difficult to get tickets for the Spain game. As soon as they’re up on the UEFA website, they’re gone again.”

The guys have decorated van, a 19-year old Japanese import, with vinyls of their faces imposed onto members of the Irish soccer team and logos for the Irish Cancer Society. “We’ll probably name the van after whoever scores Ireland’s first goal,” said Shay.

The travellers aim to raise E5,000 for their chosen charity, from online donations and a raffle for match tickets which they held last Wednesday.

You can follow and support the guys on their trip at facebook.com/TheLadsTripToPoznan

Donations can be made at mycharity.ie/event/the_lads_trip_to_poznan.

- Liam Godinho