McCarthy mobbed as Irish dream of shocking Spain
I might be eight days late but I have finally made it to Euro 2012.
I gather there are few people who have been wondering where I have been, which is nice, although there may have been many more enjoying my absence! Suffice to say that a lot of the last two weeks have been spent shuttling between home and hospital after a family emergency and I am just glad that I am able to get here at all.
The alarm went off at 03:45 BST on Wednesday to get me up in time for the early flight to Warsaw. A quick drive into the centre of the Polish capital took me past both Legia Warsaw's impressive new ground and the gleaming National Stadium where the Poles have played Greece and Russia in their first two group games.
There was just time to get some zlotys from a cash point before picking up Mick McCarthy, soundman Phil Gibbens and floor manager Nick Bushell before heading off on the five hour drive to Gdansk where I will be commentating on the Republic of Ireland's game with Spain on Thursday.
Gdansk is a lovely city, whose old town on the Motlawa River is crawling with Irish fans.
As Mick and I headed to the river to record a preview chat of the game, which was shown on Wednesday night's BBC One coverage of the match between Germany and the Netherlands, he was practically mobbed by people wanting a photo or autograph, or mostly both. I felt like his minder, "Come on lads let him through, please!"
Many of the Spanish fans in the restaurant where we ate also smiled and waved at Mick, though it's fair to say that the sudden appearance of a tracksuited Cesc Fabregas, who scored in Spain's opening game, caused the biggest stir of the night.
So can the Republic of Ireland do it? Certainly they will need to play a lot better than they did against Croatia, and they will also need more luck. It seems likely that boss Giovanni Trapattoni will decide to play five across midfield and sacrifice a striker to avoid being swamped by the Spanish midfield.
That extra man seems unlikely to be Sunderland's James McLean, who would certainly get the vote of the majority of the Irish fans heading to the Baltic Arena for the game.
Spain may start without a striker again, as they did against Italy. They may be the World and European champions but they are not quite at the level they once were. In the four years leading up to the 2010 World Cup, they lost just two games - in the two years since they have lost four.
The Republic of Ireland may be talking about making that five, but they would be ecstatic if they could manage a draw and pick up the point that would definitely leave them with something to play for against Italy.
If there is anyone who knows how to beat the Italians, it must be one of the greatest Italian managers of all time.