Last night, they let the Fantasy Girls out of our windowless office of doom. We did the unthinkable and actually went to a match! I’m writing off form here, because it was a rugby match but because Catriona’s been blogging about football, there’s no reason why I can’t take this one.
In short, it was brilliant. Killian tagged along and we had so much fun. Sure, the rugby was good, but the overall atmosphere was what really made it for me. We were sitting in press overflow and I couldn’t believe how good the seats were. It was made even better by Catriona meeting her friend’s boyfriend, who was working as a steward and who got us tea. Tea and rugby! It was brilliant.
When the teams first came out, I was stuck by Adam Jones. Having talked about his wonderful hair for months, actually seeing it was just incredible. It billowed in the wind like a majestic flag and I almost wanted to start supporting Ospreys. However, we were surrounded by die-hard fans who had paid fifty euro to sit in the good seats. Catriona and I decided that cheering for Adam Jones would not have been a good idea.
The people we were surrounded with turned out to be as entertaining as the match itself. The highlight was the family sitting in front of us. Elegantly coiffured Mum, enthusiastic Dad, three shrieking, rugby mad children and a nanny. In short, the children were hilarious. The screeched with the passion of football hooligans, but in children’s language. “REF YOU’RE A SILLY DUMMY!” was a clear highlight. They were hyped up on sugar and the atmosphere and wanted everyone to be as excited as they were. When one of them noticed that their mother wasn’t screeching, he demanded to know why, and she replied “I am cheering, darling. I’m doing it mentally.” This is clearly the best response to your crazed children. In the furore, one of the kids then lost a tooth and started proudly showing off the bloody socket to his brothers. Then the two other brothers decided to start kissing each other. I’m not really
sure why, but the father’s reaction of total mortification was hilarious. At various points throughout the match, he kept turning around and apologising for his children, which was needless because they made the match.
Now, back to the rugby. No one really famous played. Jamie Heaslip was there, as was Shane Horgan, Gordon D’arcy and Cian Healy, but I wanted to see Rob Kearney and Brian O’Driscoll. Despite this, the match was excellent. I admit that I had to ask which side Leinster were scoring at, but once I got into it, it was really fun. Isa Nacewa was really good. He darted in and out of the Ospreys and was able to run really, really fast. I know this sounds simplistic, but that’s the kind of thing I noticed. I’ve never been someone who was interested in sport, but the atmosphere and the teams getting down to it, really sucked me in.
There were low points. Catriona and I went in search of the press area for the mythical free soup, but were lead around in circles. Each steward we asked led us in a totally different direction. Eventually, we trudged back to our seats, minus our free soup. Killian demanded to know why there was no free soup and then got freaked out that we had humiliated him in the press area, which he had warned us not to do all week. We had our free teamsheets, programmes and tea, so we didn’t mind so much about the soup, but tormenting Killian with our mythical adventures in the press box seemed like the best idea. At dinner afterward, Catriona told him that I had tripped in the press room and fallen onto Gerry Thornley’s lap with my skirt flying up. She then told him that she’d mentioned both his name and the paper’s and the look of horror and upset on his face was so awful that we had to tell him the truth.
The second half was as fun as the first, but Catriona got offended when I made a joke about Dan Biggar converting his own try (“it’s just getting Biggar and Biggar!”). I had to let Killian explain that the ball needs to go out of play before the game could end because I honestly could not understand why they were playing over time and why there was no injury time. According to Killian, because rugby is more stop/start, they pause the timer when things stop instead of adding on injury time the way football does. In the end, Leinster won 20 – 16, but Ospreys put up an excellent fight. We were sitting beside Ospreys’ coach, who got super shouty toward the end, but I didn’t mind, because he had a beautiful new Macbook that I fell in love with.
The end of the match proved to be a highlight for one simple reason. Mike Phillips. We had resigned ourselves to Tommy Bowe not coming on, but when we heard that Phillips was on the bench, Catriona and I got quite upset. However, when Phillips came on, in his lovely white jersey and tight shorts, we both were cheered up immensely. I’d like to think that he did it especially for us. Catriona is going to move to Swansea and marry him.
It was fun to finally experience live sport and I will definitely be back to the RDS to cheer Leinster on, as I’m sure Catriona will be. The closeness of Donnybrook means that you can get dinner before or after. We opted for Tenors, which was delicious and excellent value. The atmosphere really made it and there was as much going on in our seats as on the pitch. There’s nothing like it, even if I was afraid the rugby ball was going to smack me in the face. I was that kid in school. You may think live sport isn’t for you, but, trust me, if I can do it, so can anyone. It’s the most fun I’ve had in ages and I’ll definitely be back, with my urban family in tow.