I tempted fate by posting my last post. About five minutes after I posted it my dad came home and told me that I was going to Ballybofey to meet Roy Keane during the Finn Harps V Ipswich Town match. My dad is involved with a local football team and has been for years. He was helping to sell tickets for the Finn Harps club and happened to mention to one of their supporters about Roy being the patron of Irish guide dogs. He told him to take me and OJ to the match, and he was sure we could at least get a photo with Roy.
We went to Ballybofey straight after work on Tuesday. One of my work colleagues is a photographer and a big Keano supporter, so he came too. It was great because he kept me company during the match and took pictures. The Finn Harps people took myself and my dad into the club and told us we could meet Roy after the match. I was just ringing J to tell him we’d meet him outside to watch the match first and Roy came over. He was quite shy but friendly too. He hasn’t lost that Cork accent at all! He asked about O J and petted him and we got some photos. J came in past the security and managed to take a few. It was all a bit crazy then because people kept trying to get in. He didn’t have time to change the lens on his camera so you can’t see OJ in his photos. I know a newspaper and some other people got OJ in their pictures, so If I get copies I’ll put them up.
Roy asked me if I was looking forward to the match and I said that this was OJ’s first one. He said he hoped he would be well behaved and wouldn’t distract his players. I told him that if Ipswich lost he could blame OJ! They did!
I enjoyed the match more than I thought I would. OJ was very lively and inquisitive and attracted a lot of attention as usual. A lot of people I talked to didn’t know that Roy was involved with Irish guide dogs and they were impressed. Finn Harps won 2: 1, so it was a nice boost for them.
After the match we went to a nearby hotel. I promised my nephew I’d get him an autograph and didn’t have a chance before. There was a press conference and we had to wait for over an hour. We finally met Roy again as we were about to leave. We had a laugh about the score and he gave OJ another pet. He spent time before and after the match signing autographs and meeting people, even when security were trying to take him away. I don’t envy any celebraty with that lifestyle. You would need to be very patient.
I got a very appologetic phone call from a member of guide dogs staff on my way to Ballybofey. Apparently he didn’t know that I had contacted the organisation about meeting Roy until recently and said if he had they could have helped. We got there in the end anyway, and I was glad I had the chance to go after all.
You can read reports on the match
in the Irish Times