That’s the life of a football fan

THIRTY two hours on a bus and four flights in 72 hours. The 2018 Champions League final in Kiev didn’t quite go to plan for four Donegal Liverpool Supporters, in more ways than one.
Kevin Neely from Drumoghill, his sister Clare and her husband Chris Dullaghan from New Mills together with Monaghan man David Moen, who has lived in Letterkenny for the past twenty years, arrived home on Monday lunch-time tired but already looking forward to their next adventure.
“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Kevin Neely said.
An IT manager with Allstate in Derry, Kevin didn’t get too much time to dwell on the heartache as, together with his wife Breid (nee Breen) and baby son Ronan, he flew out on a family holiday to Spain on Wednesday.
“I had been due back at work on Monday morning – which didn’t quite go to plan – but otherwise it was a great weekend.”
Having left Letterkenny in the early hours of Friday morning last, the die-hard supporters flew from Dublin to Frankfurt and, from there, on to Warsaw before boarding an overnight coach to Kiev, arriving on Saturday afternoon.
Little more than an hour after the full-time whistle they were back on the bus doing the same journey in reverse.
“The journey on the way out was perfect. We got there around 2pm local time on Saturday (game was on at 9.45pm) and we had a brilliant day. The buses had been organised by Liverpool FC and they had organised The Farm (a Liverpool band) to play live in the Fanzone,” he said.
The game itself ended in disappointment with Liverpool on the wrong end of a 1-3 scoreline against Spanish giants Real Madrid.
“You cannot legislate for errors. I felt that, psychologically, we were struggling without our main man (Mo Salah). We had a young side and I felt that taking the match to penalties was the only chance we had after Mo got injured.
“Bale (Gareth) then scored a wonder goal and, to be fair, he got a lot of claps in our end too before Karius made that second mistake. I’ve seen him struggle with those types of shots before and it got away from him. It’s just a pity that it happened in such a big game,” he said.
Sitting on a bus
To compound their disappointment, the Liverpool fans were left sitting on a bus at the border crossing between Ukraine and Poland for more than two hours on the journey home.
“They took all our passports and by the time we eventually got to Warsaw our flight was then delayed for a further hour while we were told that our flight back home from Germany had been cancelled. They put us up in a hotel overnight though and we finally arrived back in Donegal on Monday afternoon,” he said.
“We travelled all that way to see a wonder goal and two mistakes but that’s football,” he added.
“Listen. It was a fantastic experience. We had a great day in Kiev. The game itself didn’t quite go as planned but if you didn’t have the bad days you wouldn’t enjoy the good days as much,” he said.
Neely hopes that Jurgen Klopp buys a few players over the summer – including a goalkeeper – to ensure that they’re fighting for honours once more next season.
“We’re not a million miles away. We’re better than we were last year but not quite good enough just yet. One or two more players..” he said.

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