/ Euro 2012

Glenn Mason's Euro 2012 diary

Updated: Thursday, 07 Jun 2012 22:40 | Comments

Republic of Ireland kit man Dick Redmond realised a lifelong dream when he led a group of local cheerleaders through their paces at the Municipal Stadium in Gdynia
Republic of Ireland kit man Dick Redmond realised a lifelong dream when he led a group of local cheerleaders through their paces at the Municipal Stadium in Gdynia

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You know it's a major tournament when even a press conference by the goalkeeping coach draws a big crowd.

And so it was, that as Alan Kelly arrived at the main media hotel in Sopot a large press corps trailed behind.

They were desperate for any update on the fitness of Shay Given on an otherwise quiet day.

They got more than an update as Kelly spoke for almost 20 minutes on many issues, including Given, the team spirit and the day off. Saipan even made it in there.

The rest of the day consisted of the minutiae of life on a tour such as this, getting laundry done, catching up on affairs of the heart back home, as well as brushing up on the local language.

Kelly is a dream for journalists as his relaxed manner makes him at in ease in front of the cameras and microphones, which provides plenty of good soundbites.

It turned out to be more of a conversation than an interview and a welcome departure from the more guarded interviews that most modern footballers tend to give.

It was a shame to miss the Olympic torch passing through Dublin and a small group huddled around Tony O'Donoghue's laptop at breakfast to watch Henry Shefflin on the roof of Croke Park.

The rest of the day consisted of the minutiae of life on a tour such as this, getting laundry done, catching up on affairs of the heart back home, as well as brushing up on the local language.

Sadly, we didn't take the weather with us and the tans of Tuscany and the burns of Budapest are already beginning to fade, with temperatures struggling to get above the mid teens. Still, it beats a rainy day in Dublin.

A trip to a Gydania launderette saw Glenn Mason receive the devastating news that his lucky pants couldn’t be saved

The shorts that filled our suitcases on the way to Italy are now being worn out of necessity rather than choice.

The forecast for Poznan at the weekend is good and the city's beer gardens will no doubt be thronged with green-clad Irish fans.

The Polish leg of the adventure began with the pageantry of the squad's open training session at the Municipal Stadium in Gdynia, the home of Arka Gdynia.

Some of us had been there on a scouting mission in April, but it looked so much better with fans and the UEFA livery added to the mix.

The playing surface was indeed perfect, as the stadium spokesperson had promised us it would be.

Throw in a few balloons and cheerleaders and you had a good's day's entertainment.

It was always going to be a gentle session and the crowd were never likely to be wowed by "piggy in the middle" and other possession exercises.

However, there were plenty of smiling faces on the way out and a good impression had been made on both sides.

Do zabaczenia, as they say in this neck of the woods.

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