Tuesday 7 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
INPHO/Dan Sheridan Irish fans watching in a pub (file photo).
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Irish fan buys rights to show World Cup qualifier in Australia
David Feeney has gone to the extreme to ensure he gets to watch next week’s Sweden game.

FOR THE THOUSANDS of Ireland supporters who have started new lives abroad in recent years, following the national team is far from straightforward.

Apart from the fact that living in different time zones may mean sitting up into the wee hours to cheer on the Boys in Green, you can also face problems in finding somewhere to watch the game – as Dubliner David Feeney did.

Living in Australia the past 15 years, Feeney grew tired of missing Ireland’s competitive fixtures and decided it was about time he did something about it.

“I was listening to the last game on the radio and thinking ‘Jesus, in 2013, how am I not watching this live?”, he told the YBIG Football Show.

Thanks to the help of a friend working in broadcasting back home, he discovered that a German company owned the rights to the upcoming World Cup qualifier with Sweden on 6 September and, after persuading his wife to agree to the crazy idea, put in a bid.

Incredibly, it was successful.

“I made them an offer that was relatively low but I had no idea how much they would cost,” he explains. “They came back and said ‘okay’.”

After acquiring the rights, Feeney considered the best way to allow fellow Irish fans to view the match. He contemplated streaming it online but has instead partnered with several pubs around the country who have agreed to show it.

“We’re all over here and missing home. Watching a stream on your laptop at 4.45am doesn’t give you the real experience and possibly makes you miss Ireland even more.

I decided to put it to give people the opportunity to transport themselves back home temporarily without giving Etihad or Emirates their money.”

Among the venues showing arguably the biggest game so far in the current campaign are The Casino Bar and Scruffy Murphy’s in Sydney, The Celtic Club in Melbourne as well as pubs in Brisbane, Darwin and Adelaide.

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Rather than looking upon it as a business venture, however, Feeney is just happy that he will get to see the 90 minutes surrounded by like-minded people.

“It’s been an expensive exercise to just make sure I get to see the game. I’m not trying to pay off my mortgage or buy a Ferrari. I’ll probably lose money on it and if I break even I’ll be delighted.”

For more information, check out Channel 33 on Twitter and Facebook. Their new website will also go live in the coming weeks

For the full YBIG Football Show interview, click here

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