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Ireland fan celebrates 60th birthday with trip to Euro 2016

Published 16/06/2016

Irish fans are gathering in Bordeaux ahead of their side's clash with Belgium on Saturday
Irish fans are gathering in Bordeaux ahead of their side's clash with Belgium on Saturday

A man who left Ireland when he was nine and dreamed of playing for the Republic is in France for Euro 2016 as part of his 60th birthday celebrations.

Columb Starrett, who lives in Bicester in Oxfordshire, left Holywood in County Down with his family more than 50 years ago.

When asked if he will be cheering for Wales against England, he said: "Yeah, no two ways."

He joined English and Welsh fans in a very wet fan zone in Bordeaux for the sides' big match.

Mr Starrett turns 60 in October, and he told the Press Association: "I wanted to be with the Irish fans watching the Euros. This is the start of the celebrations.

"I've always wanted to play for Ireland. I think if I'd stayed in Ireland I'd have been playing for Ireland. That was my ambition."

His nephew Phil Starrett, 49, who lives in Souldern in Oxfordshire, is also backing the Republic.

"I'm Irish. That's why I've got the Irish jersey on," he said.

Phil Starrett, who was born in Singapore and grew up in Germany, added: "I'm here with my uncle celebrating his 60th birthday watching the mighty green army and having the craic."

Irish fans are pouring into wine capital Bordeaux ahead of their side's game against Belgium on Saturday.

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