Midtjylland vs Derry City
UEFA Europa League First qualifying round, Thursday 7pm, MCH Arena, Herning
Organising to follow a football team in European competition can present all manner of logistical nightmares - especially if you’re already half way across the world when you’re doing it!
And with Derry City in Denmark this week, Candy Stripes fanatic Brendan Carroll has been forced to take evasive action in order to ensure he’s in the stands when Kenny Shiels’ men take on Midtjylland in the Europa League.
After spending time relaxing with his wife, Hollie, on the South Pacific island of Rarotonga - the largest of the Cook islands - Brendan’s improvised plan sees the couple jet in to London on Thursday morning before they part ways at Heathrow and Brendan flies direct to Herning where the match takes place.
Despite those idyllic surroundings, Carroll admits he stayed up virtually all night watching the Europa League draw before beginning the ordeal of how to get to Herning for the big game.
The Civil Service worker has travelled all around the world supporting his home town club and Ireland and just like last year’s European Championships in France, another ‘all-nighter’ had to be pulled in order to finalise his itinerary for Denmark.
The minute I organised the holiday, I told Hollie that we needed to be back in London on Thursday June 29, preferably early in the morning.Brendan Carroll
“The minute I organised the holiday, I told Hollie that we needed to be back in London on Thursday June 29, preferably early in the morning. She knew a football trip was probably the reason why we had to be back early, but she didn’t mind, I think,” he smiles.
“While on holidays and enjoying a night out; before I went to bed I had to stay up and watch the Europa League draw to find out where I was heading when I arrived in London. Like everyone I was hoping for a nice easy tie, but unfortunately that didn’t happen and we got Midtjylland.
“So then it was a case of organising a flight from London to Denmark and more importantly as close to Herning as possible.
“Ironically the last time I stayed up all night organising a trip, again it was because of football. “It was after Ireland’s win over Italy in Lille which meant we qualified for the last 16 (of the Euros) and also meant that we had to organise accommodation, car hire, bus and train times, for the game against France, but like my trip to Denmark, I got it done.
“After quite a few hours on Sky Scanner and various other airline companies I managed to organise a flight from London Stansted to Aarhus Airport and fingers crossed by train and bus I should make it in time.” The Ireland fan started his adventure to Denmark at 9.00pm on Monday and has quite a few stops on the way and is hoping there aren’t any flight delays or last minute problems.
“I leave Rarotonga on Monday night, around 10pm; arrive in Auckland on Wednesday morning at 6am; Leave at 1pm, brief layover in Bangkok, arrive in London at 7.10am on Thursday morning. Arrive in Århus at 2.05pm and hopefully be in Herning for 6pm at the latest.” The 31-year-old who has seen City in Gothenburg, Minisk and Paris knows Thursday night’s first leg clash is going to be tough.
“Midtjylland are a good side, they beat Man United and Southampton at home a few years ago, so we know it’s going to be tough, but I think my trip to get to the match is tougher.”
When asked what Hollie was doing when he was gallivanting around London to get his flight to Århus, he gave a quick response.
“Hollie is going home to Derry and I told her I would be home later in the week,” he joked.