Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thing 199 Munster Away Game

That's Ivan Dineen there. Scoring the only try of the game. It's a nice thing to be a Munster fan. It's a large family, from all over the province. There's as much love for the Men in Red in Tralee and Tipperary as there is in Cork and Cobh. Limerick's a special place for rugby too. It's been the venue for some amazing Munster victories, and a tragic loss or two as well. Limerick people consider themselves especially attached to rugby, but no one is more attached than anyone else to Munster. There are die-hard Munster fans in Ennis, Waterford, Clonmel, Dungarvan, Kilkee, Kilrush, Abbeyfeale, Blarney... it's everywhere.

I like to think I'm a die-hard fan. I love the club, I love the game, I love the spirit and mentality... Can you really call yourself a die hard if you've never travelled away to see your heroes? I think you can, but I know others would disagree. It's not really about how far you go, it's about how you show your support; whether that's in Limerick, Cork or anywhere else on this wide blue planet.

Still though, it does feel kind of special to be standing in Ravenhill on a wet, blustery, windy Friday evening watching the lads run out to represent. There's a little thrill of satisfaction in knowing that you've made the journey, for the lads, and thousands of others didn't. I felt briefly sorry for The Thief. I'm sure when I said "we're going to Belfast" she was thinking; City Centre, shops, bars, cafes, culture... Not standing in the flogging rain listening to me berate the referee for an hour and a half. She bore it well.

Hats of to Ravenhill by the way, there were umpteen food stands, drinks tents, crepes, shops and everything else in between. Smashing venue. What it lacked was what makes Thomond Park special - proximity to the pitch. No matter where we stood, you never really felt like you were in on the action. Part of that, it has to be said, was the eerie feeling that came with being one of only a handful of people celebrating when we scored points.

I'm used to complete silence for kicks, we didn't get it. I'm also used to that huge surging roar when we score points, be it from the boot, or over the white line, there's nothing beats the rush of Munster fans in full voice for a score.

Myself, God Boy and Top Cat cheering like lunatics to the sound of utter silence around us was a little unnerving. Well, I tell a lie. It wasn't utter silence. The nice chaps behind us were thoroughly reassuring just after Musnter had taken the lead: "It's a long walk home naked boys..." They were kidding, it was a bit of banter, but it highlighted that "away from home" feeling.

I think I kind of loved it. I wonder would some one sort me out with tickets for Wales to see us against the Ospreys? Seems unlikely...

By the way; I like to think I know rugby: Who's your man in the centre we were asking each other. Dineen? Plays for Cons does he? We were unimpressed. Eighty minutes later and we were cheerfully eating our humble pie. Ivan Dineen - you're a legend! Great try! So much me for and Top Cat. Know it alls.

P.S. Watch Top Cat do his thing: This is his website. He's like a professional fan. See his work. Be impressed:

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