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No divided loyalties for Republic and Denmark clash

Lifford artist Eamon O’Kane with sons Emil and Mikkel meeting Liverpool legends Patrik Berger and Vladamir Šmicer. Eamon lives in Denmark with his family but is adamant he and his sons will be firmly behind the Republic of Ireland when they meet the Danes in the World Cup play offs.

A Donegal man living in Denmark says there will be no divided loyalties when the Republic of Ireland faces the Scandinavians in tomorrow night’s clash.

For millions of Irish fans it is a penalty kick as to who they will be supporting  but for Lifford artist Eamon O’Kane things aren’t just as straightforward.
An artist, Eamon lives in Denmark, his wife Anja is from Denmark and his two sons, Emil (12) and Mikkel (10), play for their local club, Søhus, in the Danish town of Odense.

However, Eamon said there would be no split in the family camp as, like himself, his two boys are ardent Ireland fans.

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The Donegal man said, “I usually get to chat to the other parents when I take the two boys to training but because it is mid-term here, I haven’t had a chance to catch up with anyone yet.
“I play a bit of football myself for exercise and for fun in Norway on a Tuesday evening and there was a bit of banter with the guys up there because Northern Ireland was in Norway’s group. But we are Republic of Ireland all the way, even though Emil was born in Bristol and Mikkel was born in Denmark. It is a bit tough that the two teams were drawn against each other but when I asked the boys about it they said they were Ireland all the way.

“We are all big Liverpool fans too so we are big supporters of Seamus Coleman and because I am from Lifford, we are Shay Given fans too. My family would know the Givens very well and Shay went to the same school as my brother and my sisters,” he said.

Award-winning artist Eamon has lived in Denmark for the past decade and is a Professor of Visual Art at Bergan Academy in Norway.

Away from work though football takes up a fair bit of his spare time. With defender Emil and striker Mikkel flying the flag on the pitch for Søhus, Eamon’s wife Anja sits on the team board and Eamon himself takes on the role of assistant coach from time to time.

The community-based club has previously run a bus to international games and if they do the same this time around, the O’Kane clan will be there. Chances are though they will be the only ones on board cheering on Martin O’Neill’s men.

“It has been great having Northern Ireland, Denmark and the Republic involved,” said Eamon.

“It has been very exciting although a bit stressful too and it was really tough when Coleman picked up his injury. But they did a fantastic job to get past Wales and I’ll be routing for them in the play-offs.”

Much has been made of how expensive Copenhagen is for visitors. But according to artist Eamon, it isn’t much different in price to Dublin.
“Dublin prices have gone up over the last few years and there wouldn’t be a huge difference between it and here,” the Lifford man said.

“If you are buying a pint in the pub it is a but more expensive but if you are buying from the supermarket then it is really cheap. Eating in restaurants can be expensive too but there is a wide variety to be had and again, it isn’t that different to Dublin.”
 
 
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