Rush of blood

I don’t watch rugby much these days. I saw 3 games this last season. The last one was a bit special.

Glasgow Warriors (one of Scotland’s two professional teams) reached the final of the RaboDirect Pro 12 – their league competition which involves Scottish, Welsh, Irish and Italian teams.

I’d wanted to see their semi final in Glasgow, but I was driving to Blackburn the next day to see my son play ice hockey – an 8 hour round trip. I couldn’t face both journeys so close together.

When Glasgow won their semi, I did look at a trip to Dublin for the final against Leinster. It seemed impossible to do it on a sensible budget without a 10 hour round trip drive to get a ferry in North Wales.

I dropped the idea. Reluctantly.

It was a reluctant decision because I’ve been watching Scottish rugby since I was at primary school. In those days schools could access special seating (at discounted prices) for Scotland home games. In close to 5 decades of watching, Scotland had only ever won the championship twice.

So here was a Scottish pro team in a final for the first time.

Then 3 days before the game I saw on Twitter that the Warriors were offering a few last minute seats on one of the club’s charter flights. It was the flight for injured squad players and those not selected, the wives and girlfriends and the sponsors.

A day trip. 12 seats left. No expensive hotel or boozy Dublin nightlife.

Next day I gave in and booked.

not cheap...

not cheap…

It was quite an experience. We arrived in Dublin late morning, and the game was at 6.15pm. The weather was warm and sunny. I decided to put the time to good use and took the train south to Killiney, planning to walk back to Dalkey have a late lunch and then head back into the city for the game.

Killiney Beach

Killiney Beach

It turned out to be a good plan. Dalkey is kind of expensive as a place to hang out – my pizza cost me €14.50 – but it is a lovely wee suburb.

Dalkey

Dalkey

The game was disappointing. Glasgow competed well for an hour, but then made a series of errors which let Leinster run away with a comfortable win. It was a great occasion nevertheless.

The flight back to Scotland was scheduled for 11.30pm, but a technical problem meant the plane had to be replaced and it was 3am by the time we got to Glasgow Airport. I was home for 4am.

At least the drive was mostly in daylight…

© iain taylor, 2014

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