Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thing 91 Sit in Every Seat in Thomond Park

Failure: The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends

Failure: One that fails:

Failure: Nonperformance of what is requested or expected; omission.

Failure: The condition or fact of being insufficient or falling short.

I'm a failure.

There are 15,144 seats in Thomond Park. I managed just over 12,000 and then time ran out. The Day for Shane (Shane Gheoghan Trust, it's a worthy cause, a very worthy cause, look it up) match between Sunderland and a Munster XI kicked off, and I was sent packing. In a nice way, all of the staff at Thomond Park were awesome, none of them would give me the bums rush in a bad way.

Here's a list of injuries I was expecting:
Quads. Groin. Calves. Hamstring. Back.

Here's some I wasn't expecting:
Blisters on my palms. Friction burn on my arm. Pains in my knees. Ache in my neck, shoulders, arms.

It was entirely as difficult as the Marathon. The East and West stand number about 7,500 seats each, a little more on the West Stand than on the East. Each stand divides into ten sections with the largest in the centre. East Stand with the accompanying hospitality seats took five hours. Five hours. But it would have been a heartbreaking slog without the following people:

Siobhan and Ray and all at the Darcy team for making it happen. Michelle and John in Thomond Park. Blond Boss, Token Northy and the Frenchman and not forgetting Kirsty for bandaging my wounds while I whinged and whined about my sore hands.

It's a bigger ask than you think. A second per seat is, obviously enough, 15,144 seconds 0r 4.2 hours. That sounds achievable right? Not even. It's pointless trying to. You're talking about pushing down the back of the seat next to you, kicking your feet under you and pushing your own weight across in one second. Not a problem for the first 1,600 seats or so. After that it slows down... slows right down.

So maybe you could push yourself for 2 seconds per seat. That's 8.4 hours. Add ten five minute breaks and now your're talking over nine hours. Half an hour for lunch. 10 hours.

By the time I moved to West Stand my groin (don't giggle children) was in shreds and I couldn't keep pushing myself along, and I was running out of time in a bad way... so I was doubling up on the seats. One ass cheek per seat. If I'd thought of that in the first stand, we might have got this done. Didn't offer any improvement time wise - it was more painful than the first way, except that this way my groin wasn't on fire.

Someone called Ray Darcy on Today FM this morning to say that it couldn't be done... sadly... she was right. But the ever awesome, ever spectacular spiritual home of rugby can wait. I'll be back next week to finish the last three thousand.

I don't like failing. I don't enjoy going home without completing my mission. But what a day... Thomond Park, where I saw Keith Earls burn everyone within half a mile to score a cracking try against Ospreys. Where Paul O'Connell destroyed Cudmore in the most one-sided fist fight in the history of rugby. Where Barry Murphy skinned Robinson to the try line in the Sale Miracle Match. The All Blacks were beaten here, and escaped by the skin of their teeth 30 years later. Full of history. Shame about the Shannon fellas... psyche!!
All complaints regarding this failure, along with lengthy condemnations can be submitted underneath... sorry about the failing.


  1. As far as I can tell, this whole experience is about trying new things, one per day. You tried, therefore it's impossible to have failed.

  2. You got 79.2% of the seats, roughly...


    Hardly a failure, going by Leaving Cert standards at least. It was a very ambitious task to begin with, I'd go so far as to say that you could ignore the 20% that make up the back rows, nobody cares about them :P

  3. Ah fair play to you anyway. 3000 will seem like a breeze next time.

  4. I blame Ray D'Arcy for holding you up so he could say "Ready, Steady, Sit!"... you could have started earlier otherwise!

  5. Hi I am enquiring if you are available for an interview on C103 Radio in Cork regarding what you are doing. You can contact me on 022-42430 or email corktoday@c103.ie. Thanking you Kind Regards Bernie Murphy C103

  6. Puck it out Dan - you lunatic

  7. Fair play for the effort. We were glued to the updates on a road trip to Mayo on Tuesday!