It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to support Ireland, but forget about war-torn Ukraine, says superfan Davy Keogh
IRISH footballer Davy Keogh has said it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to be a member of the Green Army – but urged fans to forget about a trip to war-torn Ukraine.
Stephen Kenny’s infantrymen were drawn along with their close neighbors Scotland, Ukraine and Armenia in Group B1 of the Nations League on Thursday.
The fixture list was confirmed earlier this week, but only served to highlight how the team has a tough logistical challenge.
Ireland starts at home in Ukraine, then travels to Armenia, returns to the Aviva to welcome Scotland, then travels to Ukraine – all over a ten-day energy drain in June.
The Boys in Green have never faced Ukraine at the senior level and given the ongoing dispute with Russia, it remains to be seen if games will go smoothly there.
Tensions in Eastern Europe are at their boiling point, and US intelligence recently detected 175,000 Russian troops on the border with Ukraine as fears of a possible invasion in early 2022 mount.
The only meetings with Armenia took place during the previous European Championships campaign. Ireland recorded a 1-0 victory in Yerevan and a controversial 2-1 victory in Dublin.
Our last meetings with Scotland took place during the qualifying campaign for Euro 2016.
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Martin O’Neill’s side lost in Glasgow and could only draw at Aviva Stadium.
Superfan Davy recalled his last trip to Armenia yesterday and urged fans to join the Green Army when they arrive in the capital Yerevan in June.
But the seasoned football traveler had also warned fans who were considering taking flights to Kiev.
WORDS OF WISDOM
Davey told the Irish Sun: “I’m going to play Scotland and Armenia away, but I’m not going to Ukraine. Certainly not.
“They are almost at war with Russia again, so you don’t need this hassle in life. It will probably be transferred somewhere in Europe anyway and will not take place in Ukraine.
“That’s what happened when we were to play against Georgia in Tbilisi and Russia was also acting at the time and this game was moved to Mainz in Germany.
“But I am delighted to be returning to Armenia. We had a great time there ten years ago when Keith Fahey scored the winner.
“I remember the weather being nice and the beer tasty and cheap. We were sitting all day drinking by the pool – it was super craic.
“This game will also take place in June, so the weather should be good again.”
ON THE ROAD ONCE AGAIN
The 61-year-old Dub, who brought his Davy Keogh Says Hello flag around the world, estimates he has spent well over € 100,000 to support the national team for 40 fun years.
Davy caught the bug as a pinch man and has only missed a few games since seeing Turkey get 2-1 pissed off at Dalymount Park in 1966.
CHEAPEST FLIGHTS TO MATCHES
ARMENIA v IRELAND (June 7)
Leave on June 6 and come back on June 8 for a better price of € 324.
DEPARTURE: Fly with Aer Lingus and SkyUp. Depart Dublin at 12:55 PM and arrive in Yerevan at 3:40 AM after stops in Prague and Kiev.
RETURN: Departure from Yerevan at 04:30. Arrive home at 2:25 pm after stops in Kiev and London.
UKRAINE v IRELAND (June 14)
Leave on June 13 and come back on June 15 for the best price of 231 €.
DEPARTURE: Fly with LOT Polish Airlines and Air Baltic. Leave Dublin at 5:25 pm and arrive in Kiev at 1:15 am after a stop in Warsaw.
RETURN: Departure from Kiev at 04:30 am. Arrive home in Dublin at 8:35 am after a stop in Riga.
He added: “I can’t wait to go to Scotland too. It is handy and there will be a large number of Irish fans traveling.
“One of the guys is considering booking it for us now. I don’t take care of computers. But he’s everywhere and always gets a good deal.
“It will be great to come back for the trips outside. We are all sick of this virus. But I have my booster and I can’t wait to go.
Yesterday, the gaffer Kenny denounced the brutal program of his face.
He said: “I think it’s only us and Armenia doing these double trips.
“They seem to favor the seeds over Ukraine who face Scotland and Ireland in just one trip.
“Scotland have two home games to start. We were given a tough match schedule, the way it went, but that shouldn’t make us any less determined to deliver positive results.