EURO 2016: Green and White Army ready to party in France at Euro 2016

All the Londonderry Branch of the NI Supporters Club members who can't wait to make the trip to France this week, ahead of the European Championships.
All the Londonderry Branch of the NI Supporters Club members who can't wait to make the trip to France this week, ahead of the European Championships.

It’s a case of planes, trains, cars, camper vans and boats as the Green and White Army will be out in force in France this week.

One man who will be giving Sentinel Sport readers an insight to his experience is Brian Dougherty.

The Waterside man, who has been following Northern Ireland for decades, will be doing a daily blog with pictures on the Sentinel Sport website, telling us how he and everyone else is getting on.

“Watching Sky Sports News and seeing the training base and the boys training, it’s pretty real now,” he said.

“Now that we are there it’s great and while we obviously want to do well, getting to the Euros is like winning it to us.

“There are 24 teams at the Euros and it reminds me of Christmas nativity play that you only have eyes on your child and hope everyone else’s child is rubbish,” he joked.

Dougherty also confirmed that a host of Northern Ireland fans throughout the Waterside in particular are making the trip.

“I was speaking to a guy who was delivering the tickets to the various fans and he told me that there was 1,800 households in Derry that he had to deliver to, the majority were in the Waterside and while he was delivering Republic of Ireland tickets as well, but for the size of the city it’s still incredible that 1,800 tickets were being delivered here.

“Because of that I’m sure we’ll have enough stories for supporters back home who aren’t going. Fans are flying in direct to Nice and Lyon, some are camper vanning it, so as I said there will be some stories to be told and I’m looking forward to doing the blog.”

Michael O’Neill’s side go into the tournament as the in-form side after securing a 0-0 draw with Slovakia in their final friendly.

Northern Ireland fan Brian Dougherty will be doing a daily blog 'Euro 2016 Experience' on the Sentinel Sport website.

Northern Ireland fan Brian Dougherty will be doing a daily blog 'Euro 2016 Experience' on the Sentinel Sport website.

That results means the team are now 12 games unbeaten, something which actually worries Dougherty.

“We are going into the tournament on the back of 12 matches undefeated, so I’m hoping we haven’t peaked too soon,” he added.

“I would like to see us compete and do themselves justice. If they do say get a win and a few draws I think that would reflex where the squad is at.

“I don’t think and in fact I know supporters who I’m travelling with aren’t getting too carried away with things.”

Now that we are there it’s great and while we obviously want to do well, getting to the Euros is like winning it to us.

Brian Dougherty

The Londonderry Branch of the Northern Ireland Supporters’ Club are like so many fans making the trip to the European Championships by hook or by crook.

Russell King, secretary of the club travels to Euro 2016 admitting he didn’t think he would ever get the chance to follow his team at a major tournament.

“I’m really looking forward to it now,” he said.

“After all these years of following Northern Ireland, the bad times and good times I never thought in a month of Sunday’s that I would be supporting Northern Ireland at a major tournament.

“I remember when we went 13 games without scoring a goal and now over the last couple of years Michael (O’Neill) has turned us round and it’s great.”

King feels that O’Neill’s management skill has been second to none and his man management has got the best out of striker Kyle Lafferty.

The front man netted seven goals in the qualifying campaign and King believes his change in attitude has been great for the side.

“Michael has got the best out of Lafferty,” he added.

“Kyle was brilliant throughout the qualifying campaign and fingers crossed he can carry that onto the Euro’s.”

King also believes that the Green and White Army have played their part as they backed O’Neill and his squad for the troubled times at the start of the ex-Shamrock Rovers manager’s rein.

“The supporters have backed Michael and his squad to the hilt,” he said.

“We never booed him or let him down, we have followed him and his team all over Europe throughout the campaign and we gave him time, which in the end has worked out brilliantly.”