Cork fans caught up in Euro 2012 riots
While most Irish fans were making the short trip from Poznan to Gdansk for Ireland's second Group game against Spain, the Cork fans interviewed in last week's Cork Independent found themselves caught up in some of the biggest rioting seen so far in Euro 2012.
It all happened on Tuesday evening before Poland took on Russia in Warsaw. Bryan Holland, Ian Cotter, James Groarke and Michael Rooney made the trip up to Warsaw for the game before they headed to Gdansk.
"It was pretty crazy to be honest and there was loads of rioting and fighting in the city centre. We were kind of cornered at one stage but thankfully nothing happened to us. Luckily we had our big leprechaun hats on so they stayed away from us. One of the rioters even came up to us and asked us where we were from and when we said Cork, he gave us a big smile and said he spent about five years in Little Island, " said Bryan Holland.
Police arrested nearly 200 Polish and Russian soccer hooligans before the start of the match and used water cannons and tear gas to break up the disturbances, the worse seen so far since the tournament began last Friday.
"There was some fierce fighting there until the riot police came in and made a barrier around about 100 Russian supporters and escorted them to their hotel while the Polish fans hurled flares and stones at them."
After the disappointment of the defeat to Croatia on Sunday night, Bryan and his fellow Irish travellers are still optimistic about the next two games.
"Fans are hoping for a draw really against Spain and hopefully we can beat Italy. One thing for sure is that the craic is unreal here despite us losing, even after the defeat the Irish fans had a great time in the square in Poznan."
Before they headed to Warsaw, they took a tour of the Auschwitz concentration camp which they all agreed was very moving and sobering. There was also other soccer supporters from other countries visiting the site.
"The trip over was great and we met loads of people in Berlin and we did a tour of the city and visited Checkpoint Charlie and the former Berlin Wall and we might revisit the city on the way home. We're all taking turns driving and the roads are good compared to Ireland."
"We lost the semi-final in our soccer blitz tournament in Poznan but a Cork gang won the final."
"The atmosphere at the first match was unreal and we got on great with the Croatians fans who were fierce nice people. There were a few ultra Polish fans looking to intimidate the Croatians in the square but the riot police rushed in and they ran off and tried to smash up a few bars."
They are now on the way to Gdansk until Saturday and will be staying in an apartment there until they head back to Poznan for the final group game against Italy.
"It's easy enough to get tickets as we had only two tickets for the Spain game but through contacts we managed to pick up a few."
So for these Cork fans the rocky road continues, at least until the end of the group games.