Away Trip Review: Cardiff, Wales, October 2017
Wales Away was a massively popular game and tickets were in scarce supply. Whilst many of our club members travelled from London across to Cardiff the day before to familiarise themselves with the City, I travelled with Cian, Joe, Font, James, Patrick and Sean on match day arriving in the afternoon. Although Cian is 6, among the group I travelled with he was by far the best behaved and most responsible!
The location of the train station was so convenient in the shadow of the Principality Stadium which unfortunately was not hosting this fixture – if it had it would have meant that many more fans would have been able to attend this must win game for both teams.
We booked into our various hotels and convened half hour later at the bar in the Clayton Hotel which was a meeting point for ticket collection of club members. It’s great to meet up with members who are not based in London and therefore we only get to meet up at matches.
Travelling to games with Cian means I try to get to the stadium as early as possible to avoid the late rush and congestion at the turnstiles.
After a 20 minute walk to Cardiff City’s stadium there was a huge sense of expectation and excitement you would expect for such a high profile must win match.
The Irish fans were in great form and I was not surprised at all with how welcoming and engaging our fellow fans were with Cian as we were prompted to go to the front of the turnstile Q to “get that young lad in there” and “let’s be hearing you sing now”
It was fantastic to have our RISSC London Allocation of tickets in one block meaning we were all together row to row and it was great to see the craic and general warmth of club members towards each other catching up since our last game. Life time friendships forged on trips over the years make our club very special.
“I was there moment”
To the game, well James McCleans goal was obviously another “I was there moment” and the atmosphere was incredible as we sang into the night and celebrated a hard fought historic victory that secured a play off spot.
It always makes me laugh at how Cian refers to almost every player in first name terms as if he personally knows them all, regular shouts of “go on Darren”, “yes Jeff” and “where’s Callum?” Intersperse his running commentary in my ear during most games.
As we made our way out of the stadium with Na Na Na Na Na James McClean ringing away in our ears, the sheer jubilation of fans was a sight to behold and the walk back to the city centre seemed shorter than the trek pre match!
We returned to the Clayton Hotel for a post match review of the match, watched the goal again and again and enjoyed a few well earned celebratory pints looking forward to the play off draw and attempting to calculate the likely opposition.
Cian and I left the lads to have a few more drinks in the bar whilst we took a a short walk back to our hotel with Cian recreating ‘James’ finish again and again, before eventually heading to bed and dreaming of Russia and the World Cup.