A British soccer team arrive in New Orleans tomorrow night just to play an exhibition game against an Irish pub team - if they don't get stranded in England by ash from the erupting Icelandic volcano.
The players of Fairfax United, a club from Birmingham in the West Midlands, have been planning and saving for the trip for more than a year. They are due to take on Finn McCool's Football Club at 7pm on Friday at The Fly in Audubon Park.
Fairfax United's Liam McTiernan said: "I have my fingers crossed and we are all glued to the news. We are flying across the Atlantic just to play a friendly soccer match, and we have put so much hard work and effort into this trip that we will be devastated if it doesn't go ahead."
The game is part of the celebrations commemorating the 35-year anniversary of the club, who play in Birmingham's AFA league and have just been promoted to the higher division as champions. Their visit to New Orleans was arranged after some of the players read the book Finn McCool's Football Club, which chronicles the formation of a soccer squad at the Mid-City Irish pub and what happened to the players after Hurricane Katrina.
Coincidentally the Finn McCool's Cricket Team also has an international challenge game this weekend against the Silver Springs Shores Cricket Club, a collection of expat West Indians based in Florida. The contest starts at 930am on Saturday at Lafreniere Park and the Caribbean squad are bringing 60 supporters to cheer them on in The Finn McCool's Calypso Cricket Cup.
Finn McCool's Cricket Club captain Benji Haswell said: "It's incredible to think that we can hold an international challenge game of cricket right here as it is such an unusual sport for this city. Our team has players from all over the world and this is a fantastic chance for people in New Orleans to get a look at cricket - in fact we will have a PA with commentators explaining the rules!"
Finn McCool's owner Stephen Patterson added: "We have even got the pub's Kilwilkie Golf Society involved as they will be barbecuing and fundraising at the cricket game. When we rebuilt the bar after Katrina we never imagined it would become the center of international sporting events."
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