By Chris Wright
Like that scene from every cartoon you’ve ever watched when someone bashes a janitor over the head, steals his clothes and uses them to sneak into an abandoned funfair, ticketless Republic of Ireland fan Conor Cunningham somehow managed to make his way onto the Estonia subs bench to watch the Euro 2012 play-off first-leg using nothing more than a tracksuit, a half-inched sack of footballs and fair old pair of cajones.
After arriving in Talinn with no ticket and drawing a blank with the local touts, Cunningham seized his opportunity and merely sauntered into the stadium in Tallinn through an open door. We’ll let the man himself pick up the yarn:
“It was a corridor and a dead end. But I did see a bag of footballs and, when I picked them up, spotted an Estonian tracksuit underneath them.”
“[After putting the tracksuit on over my Ireland shirt and jeans] I didn’t know what to do, to be honest. I thought I’d better go into the Estonian dug-out. No one said anything to me and then I realised I was sitting beside their manager (Tarmo Ruutli).
“It was about 10/15 minutes into the match when a UEFA official got suspicious of me. He came over and, after talking to me, told me I had to move.”
The fourth official duly banished Cunningham to the stands, where he remained until the final whistle – when the phony Estonian hoisted his bag o’ balls up over his shoulder again and ran onto the pitch to celebrate with the Irish players…
The cheeky bastard! Here he is taking an Irish radio station through his mad jaunt in Talinn…