Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Italian Job: An Ireland Fan's Triple Header

by JL Pagano

Answering 'Ireland's Call' as a fan three times in one Six Nations weekend is something I've been meaning to do for a long time, and thankfully the stars aligned perfectly for me to be able to watch the Men, Women and Under-20s all face their Italian counterparts in successive days.

First up were the Under-20s on Friday evening at Donnybrook. I know I'm giving away my age here but on the way to the ground I met someone with whom I went to school, only he wasn't going just because he's an Ireland rugby nut like myself - his son was actually starting!

This brought it home to me just what this young squad is all about for the fans. The way I see it, they can do no wrong on the night. Now by that I don't mean they won't make mistakes, nor do I mean they shouldn't have them pointed out when they do. 

But having done all it takes to get to this point - the schools and club rugby matches at all levels, plus of course all the training sessions week in and week out - these are the lads who have shown enough promise and now must get used to a whole new dimension of the sport, namely the build-up to big international occasions. 

Pulling on the green jersey, impatiently waiting to take the field before doing so in front of an excited flag-waving crowd, lining up for the anthems...I'm writing as if I've done it myself, but sadly it was only ever in my imagination!


Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019