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Football-crazy Irishman's cricket holiday

Football's his first love, George Best his favourite but you wouldn't know that seeing Neil Horgan when George Dockerell swooped to conquer Hashim Amla. Dhiman Sarkar reports.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2011 00:59 IST
Dhiman Sarkar

Football's his first love, George Best his favourite but you wouldn't know that seeing Neil Horgan when George Dockerell swooped to conquer Hashim Amla. Or when Kevin O' Brien dropped a blinder from Morne van Wyk.

The Dubliner's been to five World Cups before but this is his first shot at cricket. "I'm in a long holiday with cricket at the end of it," said the owner of Abbey Travels, a sports travel company which, he claimed, is also the travel partner of the Football Association of Ireland. All his World Cup experiences, therefore, have been of the football kind.

"The difference between cricket and football World Cups is that firstly, the demand for football tickets greatly outstrips supply. I got all my tickets here and except for the game against India, where I paid R 3000 for a R 1000 ticket, it's been easy. Also, I can ask Kevin for a drink but can't do that to, say, Roy Keane," he said.

Little Irish flags on both cheeks and one tied around each wrist, Horgan said there are only 50 of them from Ireland "because of the recession".

"Many more went to the West Indies and saw us beat Pakistan because then Ireland was booming. But we are a family here, Team Ireland if you will. And irrespective of the way this game goes, we won the World Cup the night we won against England. I think that was Ireland's greatest achievement in sport, one that came against the old enemy and that too in a sport we don't play because it is perceived as an English sport," said Horgan.

Horgan plans to visit Varanasi after the Netherlands game "because someone told me about a festival called Holly (Holi)".

He will be homeward bound after that. Unless, of course, Ireland make it to the quarterfinals. "You bet I'm changing my tickets then."