Poznan Welcomes Returning Irish

It seems the love-affair between the Polish people and Irish fans shows no sign of abating as the city of Poznan gets set to host the Republic of Ireland team once more.

While a Tuesday November friendly in a chilly Poland seems unlikely to attract a sizeable Irish support, a crowd of 30,000 Polish fans is expected at the game.

The city of Poznan has sought to strengthen links with Ireland in the aftermath of last summer’s Euro finals.

Over the course of the games with Croatia and Italy, it’s estimated up to 70,000 Irish fans visited Poznan.

In response to the extraordinary Irish support, the city authorities arranged a thank-you when the Green Army returned to the city for the final group game against the Azurri.

Local volunteers converged on the old square dressed in Irish colours to perform a medley of the chants they’d been hearing ring out across the city since the festival of football kicked off and the Irish invasion had begun.

However, long after the Irish bandwagon had left Poznan following the team’s exit, the Irish songs and colours remained in evidence among the native population at the fan villages set up for the competition.

“The residents of Poznań remember their enthusiasm and fervour in supporting their national team, and an accompanied fun that at each meeting of the tournament moved to the streets of the city,” states a press release ahead of Tuesday’s friendly encounter.

“Due to the positive relations between residents of the capital of Greater Poland and guests from the Emerald Isle, Poznań chose Ireland as one of the target markets of its promotional activities.”

The City of Poznan had a presence at the February meeting of the two sides at the Aviva Stadium while a St. Patrick’s Day celebration was also held in the Polish city. A video was played at half time in last weekend’s rugby encounter between Ireland and Australia while the mayor Ryszard Grobelny visited Dublin last year to launch an exhibition of photographs ‘Kings of the Craic’ depicting the Irish fans in his city last June. Now Poznan is ready to welcome the Irish again.

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