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A Supporters Past Experience
5 May 2006, 5:17 pm
He signed himself Thing in The Bin and send in an account of his travels to the two previous finals
2000

Booked flight for LHR from LAX arriving 8:00 morning of game. Waited around until 11:00 with suitcase for Richmond supporter who had my match ticket no-show. Put case in locker and got tube to Hounslow and cab to Twickenham. Got soaked to skin walking to Stoop to meet Richmond lads.

Got ticket and lugged overnight bag past security and into stands. Couldn t enjoy game with heart in mouth for most of it. Was ecstatic with Walla s try, couldn t believe Holland s grubber drop-goal and couldn t believe ROG s veered away from posts at last minute.

Cheered when Grayson missed penalties. Unfortunately hadn t anything else to cheer about ROG was missing his too. The so-called injured Pat Lam played out of his skin. Eddie Halvey s last-ditch tackle on Dom I ll perform for anyone except Munster Malone was miraculous. All they needed to do was score one lousy penalty, although in fairness, Grayson was missing easier kicks than ROG missed, but he did slot 3 and that beat an unconverted try and a drop-goal. Munster failed to score in the second half, Saints scored 1 penalty in the second half to turn around the half-time deficit of 8-6.

GUTTED!

Had a few pints after the match in the Stoop. Met up with Mike McMahon then President of Richmond we had been through the ravages of Sexton Street together for years. It was to my great sorrow I learned of Mike s death a few months later, go ndeana Dia trocaire ar a h-anam.

Partied with the Abbeyfeale lads after the Richmond bus left. Got the train to Richmond and Molly Malone s until they ran out of draught beer (or was that the place next door?).

Got a train and then a tube to my aunt s place in North London, stopping off in the Archway Pub for a few pints and a great craic with the President of Claughaun and his wife, I hope they re still taking good care of my USA jacket .

Boy, was my aunt surprised by my knock on her door at 1:00 a.m .

2002

Flew to Ireland Thursday before the match. Had a spot in a car going over to Wales by ferry. The 60 m.p.h. winds up the Irish Sea weren t encouraging. Didn t have a sniff of a ticket between the 4 of us. Uneventful crossing, except being bored to death by a couple of Cork lads doing magic tricks . 3 a.m. got a couple of rooms in Fishguard for a few hours kip. Up early and off to Ferndale via Swansea (Where s the port? not port, Porth) and Merthyr Tydvil. Dumped gear in hotel. Train to Cardiff. Begging for tickets, not a chance. ONE ticket turned up and was sacrificed to me. Lads watched match in a pub. I got to sit next to a guy from Philadelphia who distracted me when Neil Back did his dirty deed, still haven t seen it.

GUTTED again.

Back to Ferndale. Treated like Royalty by Welsh people. Invited as guests of honour to Ferndale RFC next day to view the Pontypridd v Sale match.

Up early next day(or did we stay up?) and off to Fishguard. Left perfectly good roomy car in car-park at ferry and got a lift in a stationwagon, one in the booth, to Fishguard village for breakfast. Brother realized he d forgotten his wallet in Ferndale hotel. Quick phone call, wallet found and put in mail. Bus back to car-park. Ferry home. Mad drive with sick passenger by short-cuts to Limerick. Flew to L.A. next day.

2006

Got a download of the Gloucester game at Thomond park from an Aussie torrents site. Unbelievable match. I was soooooo Munster that day that if I d cut myself I would have bled red. The match was all the better because of the English commentary, they ran out of excuses early on. Found myself on Aer Lingus web site booking flight for quarter final before I asked wife

Arrived the usual Thursday before game. Bus from Rashers Saturday morning plenty of tickets this time. Traffic was unbelievably like L.A. Two passengers got off in Mountrath to catch bus back to Limerick. Strangely, traffic loosened up just after Mountrath.

Into Kiely s of Donnybrook to watch Leinster trash Toulouse thank you Leinster. Walked to Landsdowne got soaked to skin, ended up with bronchitis. Great result, but sick as a dog. Back to Limerick at midnight, flew home next day at crack of dawn .laid up for two weeks thereafter.

Watched the semi-final at the King s Head in Santa Monica with Mick Clifford, Mickey Wixtead, Mike Cross and a few other Limerick lads. The game was hardly over when we were making plans for a Great Trek to Cardiff. The brother called just after the match to say there was a car traveling by ferry ..I declined and booked a flight to London. The rest of the day disappeared in a cloud of Guinness .A day later Mick Clifford booked a flight on same plane. Mickey Wixtead is going too.

To be continued .
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