Saturday night was the Leinster v Munster rugby match at Aviva Stadium and I was so excited to finally get a chance to go. We’ve had tickets for one other match there but had to give them away when we needed to go to San Francisco, and there was no way in hell I was spending €400 on tickets for a Six Nations game at Lansdowne so this was the first chance we’d had to go inside and watch my new favorite sport. We set out with plenty of time before kickoff knowing it can get pretty crazy in Ballsbridge and thank goodness we did since the gardai had several roads closed off. Unlike large stadiums in the U.S., Aviva Stadium is located in a very residential neighborhood (true story: one of the houses I found online for rent shortly before moving here is directly across the street from one of the entrances), so rather than having a large parking lot where fans tailgate people show up several hours early to hang out at the local pubs and then everyone waddles down the street to the stadium, not unlike the herd scenes from The Walking Dead.
This was a really important match for both teams because whoever won would have better position for the upcoming GuinnessPro 12 playoffs and if Leinster won they’d go to the top spot in the league. Spoiler alert: they won. The thing we found really interesting about this particular match was because it was an interpro one, the Leinster players were facing off against some of their teammates from the Irish national team … one that just a couple of weeks ago was beating Scotland in the Six Nations tournament. Suddenly lads like Conor Murray, Keith Earls, Simon Zebo, and CJ Stander go from friend to foe. It was weird to be rooting against guys who just a short while ago I was cheering on down at the pub (Murray was a favorite of mine during the tournament.) The match ended up being a real nail biter, coming down to the final seconds to see who would win. Ultimately, Leinster held Munster back at the try line with some key tackles and the clock counted down. I gotta tell you, the energy in that stadium during that last minute was electric! I loved it!
When the match was over we shuffled out of the stadium and decided to make our way to a pub for some grub and drinks. We walked past a few that were just jam packed and kept on walking until we reached The Brew Dock on the North Side of town. Galway Bay Brewery beer is some of my favorite Irish craft beer and their pubs are top notch! It was a pub we’d been wanting to visit as well so it was a great way to wrap up a celebratory evening here in Dublin.
Watching the match at Aviva lived up to all expectations and I can’t wait until next season to catch a few other matches there. Since we bought Leinster Rugby season tickets a few days ago, I’m hoping we’ll have more matches there in our future, including next year’s Six Nations. (Honestly, I’m still not entirely sure how that ticket allocation works except for what people on Twitter have told me.)