RTE’s Conor McAleny is on a mission to find the best Irish football fan in the world.
We sat down with Conor to find out what it is about Ireland’s game and how he finds inspiration.
First things first, how old are you?
Conor: I’m 17.
I’m from Dublin.
Conor: And what country do you live in?
Conor : Ireland.
Conor : How old are your fans?
Conor [laughs]: I’m pretty young.
Conor [laughing]: I guess I’ve got two Irish fans.
Conor, how do you go about getting the Irish football message across to a global audience?
Conor; Well, I find it pretty simple.
When I’m at home, I watch it.
When you go out, you watch it, when you come back you watch.
And when I come back to the house, I get it.
Conor; When you come out of the house and you go outside and you see that crowd, it’s amazing.
Conor on what he’s doing to promote Irish football.
Conor ; I’m promoting Irish football to a new generation of fans.
You know, I’m in a good position because I’ve been able to do it.
It took a long time, Conor.
Conor says he has a special relationship with his Irish fans because of his father’s Irish roots.
Conor , You’ve been at it for a long while now.
How did that first encounter with your father, who was born in Ireland, happen?
Conor ; Oh, he was a farmer.
I was born into a family where he was one of the farmers.
Conor was always an avid football fan.
And so, when I was a kid, I used to watch the game with my dad and my brothers and I would sit there and watch.
Conor is on the right track, with his passion.
I don’t see how we can live without that.
Conor thinks that Irish football fans are in a special position.
Conor’s Irish fans have to be special Conor [crickets]: That’s the only thing.
[laughs] Conor : You know what?
I think we are Irish fans, we are really Irish, and we have to stand up for ourselves and for the country, because we’re all Irish.
Conor and his family have been supporting the Irish national team since the 1960s.
Conor said he was once at a party with a group of Irish players and a lot of them were Irish players.
Conor has a lot more Irish players than he knows about, but he’s happy to support them.
Conor with his father Conor and a former Ireland striker Conor and Joe Walsh have a close bond Conor [takes a selfie with the former Ireland captain and current international midfielder]: Joe Walsh, Joe, Joe.
Conor at the World Cup, in 2013 Conor and the Ireland men’s national team celebrate a win against Ghana Conor : That’s what’s special about the Ireland team.
It doesn’t matter where you come from.
It matters that you play in front of your home fans.
There’s no rivalry.
It is about us, we play for each other.
Conor talks about the importance of winning trophies in order to inspire and instil the Irish spirit.
Conor speaks of the importance to winning trophies and winning trophies to make Irish football more attractive to a younger generation of Irish fans and players.
We need to win the World Cups, we need to take the Champions League, we have a lot to be proud of, Conor is a fan of the English Premier League Conor: The only reason we don’t get the Champions Leagues is because of the money that we spend on the stadiums.
Conor takes his passion and enthusiasm for the game to new heights.
Conor gets emotional when talking about his experiences playing for the Irish team.
Conor[on the England game in 2015]: You know we are a big country, we’re very proud of it, we’ve got a huge football culture and a very strong team.
The only way we can compete with England is if we win the Premier League.
Conor in the Champions Cup, 2013 Conor: We’ve got the FA Cup, the European Cup, three League Cups, the Champions Trophy.
Conor wins the FA cup.
Conor wants to make Ireland more attractive for foreign fans Conor: It’s not just the fans who support us, it is the players and coaches.
Conor also wants to inspire a generation of young Irish footballers Conor: You have to have the courage to go to your local stadium, you have to go down to your home ground, you’ve got to do the thing that has brought you here.
Conor believes the future of Irish football lies in growing the game in a more global and internationalised manner.
Conor calls for Irish fans to be the face of Irish soccer Conor: People need to come out and support us.
Conor the Irish footballer talks about his relationship with Ireland’s fans Conor on how he and Joe had an emotional moment in the World Champions final in 2013.
Conor a big fan of