Limerick was yet again a sea of red rugby shirts yesterday.
What? Were Munster playing at home?
No. It was time for the annual influx of migratory Welsh supporters who descend on our fine town in their hundreds, packing every pub with their loud and generous bonhomie. I walked into Jerry Flannery’s to find that they had taken over the entire floor in front of the telly, cheering and clapping and singing before the match even started. The rest of of the pubs in town were the same, with red-shirted visitors occupying every decent vantage point.
This is a remarkable phenomenon. It happens every year, and what’s more their numbers increase every time they arrive. I asked one guy why they do it. It’s the welcome he said. Another guy said it was because you could go into any pub and discuss the match with the locals. Two lads I met actually work in the Millennium Stadium but travelled here instead because they reckoned the party would be better, and they were right. The last I saw of them, they were dancing on a table in my pub of choice while the band played Delilah and Green Green Grass of Home in their honour. Yesterday they lost to Ireland, some would say unfairly, but they kept their spirits up and their personal warmth never failed them.
We’ll welcome them back to Limerick next year and long may it continue.