Powered by Three, official sponsors of the Republic of Ireland football team, we chat to some of Ireland’s most passionate fans about how they answer #TheCallUp.
Of the thousands and thousands of members of the Green Army who travel the world over, perhaps none are more dedicated than Davy Keogh.
“Davy Keogh says hello.” It’s a simple message, but one which resonates with football fans worldwide. An everyman with a simple message, and a passion for the game.
The superfan has been travelling to Ireland games since 1966, and ever since he unfurled his famous tricolour, he has become a sensation.
The flag has clocked up thousands of air miles with it appearing at virtually every Ireland game, with the FAI taking special measures in the past to ensure he made the trip!
It’s not only the major tournaments he makes it to. From USA to Japan, and Kazakstan in the middle, Davy has answered the call.
Keogh has answered #TheCallUp throughout his life, making huge sacrifices to support his country.
He fondly recalls his first Ireland game.
“The first Ireland game I was at was in Dalymount Park in 1966 against Turkey. We beat them 1-0.
“I was meant to be going to a game a month beforehand. I went down the lane with my Dad. It was chocker-blocked. I started crying and I had to get out of there. My Da went bezerk!
“The next month, I said I’m going this time.
“I haven’t stopped following Ireland since.”
He has been present for all the great days of Irish football, but there is one moment that stands out for him.
“The standout moment for me was the goal that won the match over in Stuttgart at Euro 88. This was the first tournament we were in and we beat England.
“It was a long long day, especially after scoring so early. England were battering us. We pulled through.
“It was great to come out of the stadium that day, not because it was our old rivals England (that made it even better!) but getting the win and setting us up. We weren’t far off getting to the final of that tournament.
“Only Holland scored against us in the last few minutes [which knocked us out].
“That night, we were running around Stuttgart with about 200 England fans chasing us!”
Keogh feels that his love for Ireland is infectious.
“I’ve been there, have the t-shirts, seen it all.
“I love to see Ireland doing well and you can feel the buzz around the country when we’re doing well.
“You’ll never beat the first two tournaments. Germany ’88 and Italia ’90, that’ll never be touched again. They were out of this world.”
The link between the Irish fans and the team is unique.
“The Irish fans are the 12th man.
“If the Irish team get stuck in like Keane did against Holland in Lansdowne Road, it gets the crowd up. It’s very difficult to judge how you’re going to get the crowd buzzing.
“The Wales game will be special. The Welsh fans will be singing and we’ll have to respond. We have a responsibility. The full house will definitely lift our team.
“We’re the 12th man and we help to lift the Irish team, home or away.”
To get to Russia we need more than a squad of 23. We need every Irish man, woman and child to answer #TheCallUp and join the biggest squad in the world.
As official sponsor to the Irish team, Three will be sharing the stories of what Irish football means to those who bleed green and have answered #TheCallUp.