Sunday, 15th October.
Ireland vs Australia, Croke Park, Dublin, 3pm.
I stood on the legendary Hill 16 with Niamh and thousands of
other Irish people. There was a small pocket of Australians, but
there was an Essendon jumper among them and a high probability of
them attempting some lame "aussie aussie aussie oi oi oi"s, so I
decided to take my chances with the Irish.
No alcohol sold at the ground!
The pre-match entertainment was diabolical. Give me Angry Anderson
in the back of the Batmobile any day!
Things were going ok until Australia scored their first goal.
As O'Loughlin raced towards goal, the old instincts kicked in.
"FINISH...FINISH...FINISH...breath held while he sticks the ball
in the back of the net...YEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!" I thrust my
arms into the air as I hollered.
It was at this point that a large section of the crowd turned
around and looked at me. They weren't pleased. I decided that a
more diplomatic approach to barracking was needed today. No
slagging off the opposition, for starters.
Which was a shame, for one of my fortes (a few weeks on the
continent and he thinks he's cultured, ignorant yob) is giving the
opposition some stick. So I helped the crowd understand some of the
finer points of the game. Eg, the shirtfront.
The Irish were up in arms after a particularly beautiful
shirtfront had been delivered. I calmly and rationally explained to
them that in Aussie Rules you are allowed to use your body as a
battering ram. To a point. That point is when you use it on umpires' pet
A melee (there he goes again with those poncey words) broke
out at the end of the first half. "We might not win the game, but
maybe we'll win the fight!" yelled an Irish voice behind me.
The Australian team were booed as they re-entered the ground after
half-time. I berated the crowd for this, pointing out that I'd
cheered for their team in the curtain-raiser vs Scotland.
"Fair enough," they said.
By this stage the match was nearly beyond the Irish. It was at
this stage that Dermott Brereton (he was a dirty player, don't forget
that) brought on Rohan Smith. Rohan Smith was rubbish. He had been
anonymous for his first few minutes on the pitch, and then...
"Smith, what are you doing Smith? SMIIIIITH! That was your
mistake! What are you playing at? Chase him, he's your man Smith!
SMIIIITH! Chase him you fat mongrel. Oh Smith you are
HOPELESS. Get him off. GET HIM OFFFFF! SMIIIITH! OH MY GOODNESS
HE'S PEDESTRIAN. LOOK AT THAT, HE'S AT FULL PACE. GET HIM OFFFFF!
GET OUT OF SECOND GEAR SMITH. SMIIIIITH!"
Mercifully he had little more to do with proceedings. Despite
Smith's efforts to throw the game as the Irish rallied, Australia
won the match and the series.
Post-match, we went to a pub down the road and around the corner
a bit. There were a few Australians in there, uncouth cretins.
The band announced that it would play some Mental As Anything later.