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Dublin bus buddies seek 'stragglers' to join Euro 2016 adventure

Published 10/06/2016

Andy Bennett from Malahide with Brian Cullen, Aidan McGuinness, Kevin Johnson and Eoin O'Donoghue, all from Skerries, stand outside their Irish bus (Handout/PA)
Andy Bennett from Malahide with Brian Cullen, Aidan McGuinness, Kevin Johnson and Eoin O'Donoghue, all from Skerries, stand outside their Irish bus (Handout/PA)
The Republic of Ireland during a training session at the Stade de Montbauron, Versailles

Football fans who spruced up an old double-decker bus are hoping to pick up "stragglers" along the route of their Euro 2016 adventure.

Andy Bennett, 32, from Malahide, said he and his friends are keen to welcome people on board their Dublin bus, which ferried passengers around the capital in 1991.

The Republic supporter sets off for France this weekend ahead of the team's opening game against Sweden in Saint-Denis on Monday night, and he said: "I'm so excited. I can't stop thinking about it."

There is no shower on the bus, but it does have two toilets and a "hose".

"The bus is in really good condition. It's got a couple of toilets on it. There's no shower but there's a generator and I guess you'd call it a hose," Mr Bennett told the Press Association.

Camp beds on the top deck are dressed with the Irish flag, while emblazoned across the side of the vehicle is the slogan: "Oh la la Paul McGrath."

Mr Bennett, who runs the family cafe, Harry's Cafe Bar, in Dun Laoghaire, said the original plan was to get 11 fans to club together for the football bus bonanza - but it was a lot harder to organise than he thought.

He said he and his friend Kevin Johnson, 33, from Skerries, are the only two who are staying for the entire trip - with space available on the bus for the journey to Lille, where the Republic take on Italy.

"Me and Kevin are the only two on the bus who are there from the start to the finish. A lot of our friends couldn't get time off work etc, could only go for one or two games, could only come for the last game and stuff like that.

"The plan is hopefully to pick up some stragglers along the way. We're going to have obviously seven spare beds."

Asked who their ideal stragglers would be, he said: "Anyone who's Irish!"

The jaunt is set to be a bit of a "blowout" for the group of friends, as Mr Bennett said they are all at an age when many of them are married or have children.

Mr Bennett and his friends have tickets for the Republic's matches against Sweden and Italy, but are on the hunt for tickets to the team's game against Belgium.

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