France have beaten Ireland and back here in Limerick, there’s a terrible air of dejection that will only lift when Munster beat Llanelli.
I bumped into a friend of mine. His name isn’t important, so we’ll just call him Festy.
Well, Festy, I greeted him. How’s things?
Not great, he responded glumly. Yesterday was one of the worst days of my life.
How do you mean? I replied, slightly baffled. I thought you went to the match.
I did, he said. That’s the problem.
Yeah. It was a horrible way to lose.
No, he said. It isn’t that.
Then you must mean –
Exactly! said Festy.
You brought a woman to the match?
Jesus, I said. And it wasn’t the-only-woman-we-know-who-gives-a-shit-about-rugby?
No, he confessed. It was a woman who knows absolutely nothing about rugby. Who forced me to go to Croke Park two hours before kick-off, so that we’d get our seats in time.
But they’re reserved, I said.
I know, he said. And I got no drink. She didn’t want to go to a loud pub, so we had a pint in the Gresham. The fucking Gresham! And the fucking train on the way home broke down and we were stuck in the middle of nowhere, and the bar was shut. And she wouldn’t let me shout abuse at Eddie Hobbs.
So, you knew this woman had no interest in rugby football?
He slumped visibly. It’s true, Bock. I did.
I was baffled, and a little hurt. Then why?
Well, he said, I thought I’d get a blow-job on the train.
I couldn’t believe my ears. You fucking what? I demanded. You gave your ticket to somebody with no interest, when you could have given it to one of the true rugby supporters?
But Festy, I said. Any real supporter would have given you a blow-job for the ticket.
I know, he said.
OK, I went on, they might have given you a dig afterwards, but they’d have taken an interest in the match, and they’d definitely have gone to the pub with you.
I know, he almost sobbed. Don’t you think I know that now? It was a real turning-point in my life, I can tell you.