Probably the best story to come out of the recent Euro 2012 play-offs concerned 27-year-old Republic of Ireland fan Conor Cunningham.
The part-time fitness instructor travelled to Talinn to see his country’s first leg play-off against Estonia with a group of friends. However, they did not have tickets for the match and refused to pay the crazy prices being quoted by Estonian touts.
They unsuccessfully tried to blag their way in through the media entrance, but while they were making the effort, Cunningham spotted an open doorway with a dead end. He noticed a bag of balls there and when he picked them up, he discovered an Estonian tracksuit underneath them.
He then proceeded to put the tracksuit on over his jeans and Ireland shirt. Cunningham continues the story: “I didn’t know what to do, to be honest, so I thought I’d better go into the Estonian dug-out. No one said anything to me and then I realized I was sitting beside their manager (Tarmo Ruutli).”
He even acted as ball boy at one point, and was shown on TV handing a ball to one of the Estonian players for a throw in.
It was about 10 or 15 minutes into the match when a UEFA official got suspicious of him and told him he had to move.
He sat in one of the best seats in the house, and then brought his bag of balls with him onto the field at the end of the game to celebrate with the delirious Irish players, who had practically ensured qualification for Euro 2012 with a 4-0 victory.