If there is a nicer journey to a football ground like the one to Torsvollur Stadium in Torshavn, I'd like to take it - and this is from someone who does enjoy his trip on the DART to Bray's Carlisle Grounds a couple of times a season.
It is a spectacular view from the air flying over some of the 18 main islands that make up the Faroe Islands. Flying into the Faroes, you land on Vargar Island about 45km away from Torshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands which is part of the kingdom of Denmark but half way between Scotland and Iceland.
The approach for landing is above and, it seems, between some of Europe's highest sea cliffs. Some fans on the flight I’m on, start humming the theme tune to Father Ted as we land on what they were calling Craggy Island.
It is a scenic 45 minute drive to Torshavn while out the window rolling hills, vertiginous cliffs and some snow-capped mountains go in and out of view before we enter 4km tunnel that will take us to Streymoy Island where Torshavn is located.
Torshavn is the home for the Faroes ‘ting’ or parliament but the thing we are here to see is, we hope, a win for Ireland in our Brazil 2014 qualifier. We may also be here to see Giovanni Trapattoni’s last game in charge of Ireland. Informed opinion tells us that this could well be the case. A defeat would almost certainly see him banished back to Milan, like criminals from the Faroes who must go to Denmark to serve their sentence as there are no prisons on the islands.
A handful of Irish fans, about 200 in total, have made the journey for the game. A small number have travelled independently through Copenhagen, with the remainder on the one charter flight out of Dublin on the morning of the game.
In the build-up to the game fans spend some time paying Faroe Island prices for beer or coffee in the bars or cafés around the picturesque Thor’s Harbour (or Torshavn in Faroese) which has a large number of fishing and pleasure vessels moored in it. The prices for the drinks are far in excess of those we pay at home. There must be money in fishing.
On the way to the ground, we pass the shop where the jumpers worn by the Sarah Lund character in Danish TV’s The Killing are made. I’m unwilling to pay €280 for such a woolly jumper – I know it will be cold at the game, but not that cold.
Unlike when Brian Kerr was in charge, the Faroe national team now play in the tidy Torsvoluur stadium and its artificial surface. A crowd of just over 4,000 turn up which is about 20% less than those at the game with Sweden four days previously. In that game, Sweden trailed for a time before two second half goals got them the win. Those guys are good at come backs!
Ireland don’t concede any goals in the first half as we fail to break down this part-time team. A section of the crowd sing “There’s only one Mick McCarthy” directed towards the dugout or maybe towards John Delaney sitting elsewhere in the stadium. Stephen Kelly and Shane Long get a particularly warm reception when they warm up below us. The talk at half time is the disappointment of being held 0-0 by ‘Craggy Island’.
Whatever Trap says at half time works and Ireland go into an 2-0 early lead with the impressive Marc Wilson playing a hand in both goals, scoring one and crossing for Jonathan Walters to score – although Robbie Keane, ever the poacher, claims the goal off his boot laces. Nothing like a few goals to make the fans feel a bit warmer despite the strong breeze blowing across the pitch into the faces of the away support.
The home side do get a goal back from Hallur Hannson to give the home fans something to cheer. However, maybe Trap’s famous luck is back as Pol Johannus Justinussen puts the ball through his own net to make it 3-1. Darren O’Dea gets a late header and Ireland end the game with an impressive looking 4-1 scoreline. The Irish celebrate the win but John Delaney’s tie remains firmly around his neck.
Ireland certainly would have taken that result before the game and we definitely would have taken it at half time. The jokes about a sponsored private jet waiting to ‘rendition’ Trap back to Milan go on hold. Although later we do hear Trap won’t return to Ireland for Wednesday’s post-game conference due to needing to be home it seems to visit his sick sister.
When we get on the bus to leave Torshavn, we hear Germany are winning 4-0 against Sweden. By the time we get to Vargar airport, we hear the incredible 4-4 result. There are only two planes at the small airport. One is for the fans and the other is for the team. The next time they we will see each other in competitive action, will be in Sweden in March.
The chances of the same manager being in charge of the Ireland team appeared slim on leaving Torshavn. But less than 24 hours later, Trap gets a ‘vote of confidence’ from the FAI and it seems he will stay in-situ for the remainder of the campaign. With six points out of nine in the 'sack' along with Trap's infamous cat, there is still some chance that these boys in green could become the boys in Brazil in 2014.
Macdara made his debut as a football supporter in Lansdowne Road watching Ireland defeat Liechtenstein. He still believes one day he will see his club Shamrock Rovers win an FAI Cup. You can follow Macdara on twitter @macdarabueller