It’s game-day in the Six Nations. Fans from all over Ireland descend on the Aviva Stadium. Four proud provinces, one team.
You’ve got that precious match-day ticket in your possession as you embark on a pilgrimage to the Lansdowne Road venue.
You’re sure to meet a few characters, trust us, you’ll probably meet more than just one or two of these fans throughout the day!
The Munster Supporter
Irish by birth, Munster by grace of God.
They are creatures of habit, coming up on the train from Cork or Limerick clad in the red of Munster to shout on CJ Stander, Simon Zebo et al rather than cheer for Ireland as a whole.
They will wear Munster jerseys, even if Ireland are playing Wales or England and this means adding to the number of red jerseys in the stadium.
Oh, and Joe Schmidt’s pro-Leinster stance is the ruination of this team!
They invaded the pitch to hug Gordon Hamilton after he touched down against Australia in 1991. They bit off every single fingernail in Cardiff before Stephen Jones’ penalty dropped short in 2009.
They take the good with the bad, but keep coming back, and boy do they know their stuff!
You could be sat beside a lot worse, as they look on and offer their insights as the game progresses.
“Is there a match on today?” The regular in Slattery’s or the Bath who, early in the afternoon comes in to catch the early Premier League kick-off and a morning pint.
As the beer begins to flow and with an hour to go to kick-off, they’re debating the intricacies of Tadhg Furlong’s scrummaging battle.
The Connacht Enthusiast
This supporter does not necessarily have to be from Connacht, but nonetheless appreciates the efforts of the men from the west.
Bewildered as to what more Tiernan O’Halloran or Niyi Adeolokun must do to break into the starting XV, they impatiently await Bundee Aki’s eligibility for the Irish team.
They get a ticket thanks to their spouse, who is heavily involved in the local rugby club. Covered in green from head to toe, with a viking hat to boot, they are all about the pre-match revelry and they make a point to let all their connections on social media know that they’re in attendance.
When the game descends into a scrum-battle with the referee constantly re-playing the set-piece, expect this fan to lose interest, and fast.
The Leinster die-hard
Filing off a packed northbound Dart, the Leinster faithful alight the train at Lansdowne Road rather than Sandymount for their usual Friday night trip to the RDS.
The sight of a fully fit Jonathan Sexton is a joy to behold, while Garry Ringrose will surely go on to become one of the greats.
They are at home in their surroundings, and are in no rush to beat the traffic as they settle into the post-match debate in one of the many Dublin 4 pubs surrounding the Aviva Stadium.
The schools player
To be fair to the IRFU, they look after their own. The schools system gives young players exposure to big occasions, and they train at a level akin to professionals.
For all the work they put in, they are rewarded with those elusive Six Nations match tickets.
But there’ll be no burgers and chips at half-time. There’s a Senior Cup game on Tuesday!
The former schools player
You’ll be able to spot them, because they’ll tell you about a hundred times.
Not necessarily sat up in the corporate boxes, they got a complementary ticket through work. Unable to differentiate between a ruck and a maul, they are more than happy to trot along to the match to see what all the fuss is about.
If Ireland win, great! If not, it’s still a great day out!
Unlike his predecessors, Schmidt has been giving the men from the northern province a fair crack. Paddy Jackson, Craig Gilroy, Iain Henderson, and Andrew Trimble have all been in or around the squad, while Rory Best skippers the side.
However, there’s no such thing as too many Ulstermen, and Stuart McCloskey and Luke Marshall are way better than the lads in there at the moment.
If only Ruan Pienaar were Irish…
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