I’d like to start by apologising to anyone who got put off their tea on Saturday night when the camera at the Ireland vs Australia rugby match panned to my ugly mug on several occasions.
I was at the game with my dad and if I’d known our seats were so close to the touchline, and in turn to a crowd-capturing cameraman, I’d have contacted the censors in advance. To anyone I frightened I’d like to apologise, particularly those watching in HD.
Despite watching the green giants get walloped by the Wallabies, it didn’t ruin our day. Attending a sporting fixture offers the spectator a very different experience to viewing the same match on the telly.
For the armchair fan, preparation is minimal and the warm down is limited. It’s simply a matter of switching over five minutes before the match kicks off and turning off when the post-match analysis starts. For fans going to the game the build-up starts the second you wake up that morning and post-match waffle goes on long into the night.
On matchday morning Karen afforded me a lie-in because I’d been out at a gig the night before and owing to the fact I’d a big day ahead. After a hearty breakfast of eggs on toast I looked after the kids while Karen caught up on some sleep. This is the way we’ve come to operate, using the tag team approach to babysitting. I like to think of us as a child-friendly Legion of Doom.
When the time came to leave the house Karen rhymed off a checklist to combat my habit of ‘clean forgetting’ things. Of the 15 items I had to remember I’d forgotten two - a hat and gloves. Truthfully, I hadn’t forgotten them, I’d chosen not to remember them. Karen was having none of it.
“I’m not having you foundering in Dublin when you’ve a perfectly good hat and gloves upstairs,” she said.
I argued that gloves aren’t appropriate at a sports match because you can’t clap properly with them on, but she wasn’t for backing down on the hat omission. I was forced to trudge upstairs and retrieve my hat.
Satisfied I was suitably attired for the trip south, Karen dropped me off at the train where I joined up with the rest of the touring party - my father and three ‘free’ men whose wives had taken their children to a mums and tots outing. Having dodged a bullet in the shape of Disney On Ice, the three lads were in great tune.
Thankfully our kids haven’t been bitten by the Disney bug just yet, but I’m sure a time will come when I’ll draw the short straw of taking them to see an extortionately priced cartoon extravaganza. Why does it have to be on ice though? My preferred alternatives would be Disney On Amphetamines or Disney On Fire.
Back to Ireland On Grass and our pre-match session involved taking on board plenty of fluids whilst swotting up on next week’s opponents, or in layman’s terms, watching the England vs New Zealand game in the pub.
An hour before kick off, five well-oiled machines set off for the Aviva. If only the Irish men on the pitch had been so well prepared.
After the game further libation was required - after all, the sorrows weren’t going to drown themselves.
As for my 15 seconds of fame - when my bald head ended up on telly it prompted several witty texts from my friends and one disgruntled message from my wife saying, “Why aren’t you wearing your hat?”