Match Day. A day like no other in the Irish Sporting Calendar. Here are some helpful tips for you from Littlewoods Ireland to make the most of your match day.
The day before match day is almost just as important as the day itself. This is a time to get everything ready to go, so come the morning time everything will go as smoothly as possible.
If your team is playing an away game, you may be venturing into some unknown territory. Get an idea of your journey beforehand and more importantly, what parking is available!
Although the Championship takes place during the summer, it is Ireland we live in folks. Become more like your parents on match day and stick the rain coats and jackets in the car ‘just in case.’
However, one thing that might be a good idea to leave at home is the umbrella. As handy as they are, during a GAA match, an umbrella acts as a device to block spectators views. Bring one if you like, but you may get roars of, ‘put that thing down!!!’ being slung in your direction. Just warning you!
And most of all, don’t forget the tickets!!
Tús maith, leath na hoibre
A good start is half the work. This especially applies to match day, on the field but more so off it.
‘We are hoping to get a good run on the road,’ basically translates in every GAA household as, everyone up early and out the door in time. Sure the roads are going to be jammed with traffic, so better get ahead of it! And no messing about, it’s a strict procedure!
Remember, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So have a good hearty one, all in preparation for the day ahead.
Car Essentials are key
On match day, the journey there can be a little stressful. But it shouldn’t be!
Travelling could mean there are going to some tolls on the road, so have some lose change handy to avoid any panic as you approach the barriers. ‘Eh, do you take card?’
If you have little ones, perhaps this is the best time, as the excitement builds up! But from my own experience of travelling around the country with siblings and cousins, always have a few spare sick bags, (you never know) and baby wipes are any families best friend.
Also, a good pre-match playlist will always go down a treat!
Are we there yet?
Once you have arrived, it’s nearly time to go.
But don’t forget to do all the clever but logistical things first. Anything that’s left in the car, throw it in the boot. And tuck your wing mirrors in – honestly, last July in Clones I saw a wing mirror of a brand new Golf hanging on by a thread. Cry.
The walk into the stadium can be the best of fun when you join a crowd of fans from your county and everyone is pulsing with anticipation. Have your hats, flags and headbands ready to go!
Warm up those vocal chords
Prepare yourself for inside the stadium. The noise, the sheer noise that rings around the park. Clear your throat, and get ready for Amhrán na bhFiann.
It is possible that throughout your life you will have been told to bite your tongue. This does not apply on match day. GAA fans are very passionate people. So it is more than ok to become completely engrossed in the game and yell your support from the sidelines.
Listening to those around you, maybe take everything you hear with a pinch of salt. Especially if you attend a match day that is a local derby, the bitter rivalry is fierce. There is a very high chance you may hear, ‘That what you’s get for 1935 /1967/ 1991!’ Hardcore, and memories like elephants.
If you have children with you in the stadium, introduce them to the world of statistics. Bring a pen and paper and have them keep a tally of all the match information – red/yellow/black cards per team. A score tally, scores from frees, wides and what substitutions are used.
It’s a great way to keep children engaged for 70 minutes, and could possibly avoid fewer visits to the snack stand and toilet. Also, it teaches them about the game!
A vital part of any match day. Some fans take their picnics into the stadium, some have it afterwards.
Invest in a good sized cool bag, that will hold all kinds of sandwiches, juice boxes, fruit, crisps..the list goes on! A flask is essential, for the cups of tea and coffee that are needed for the post-match analysis.
And if you have an Irish Nanny like mine, she might even pack a homemade apple tart, and have a ‘travel teapot!’
Home again, home again jiggity jig
With the final whistle being blown, and everyone washed, fed and watered, it’s time to pack up and head home.
A good idea I have found is perhaps having the picnic afterwards, as this gives time for some of the traffic to disperse. A good run on the road home, and in time to relive it all again on The Sunday Game.
And sure, it will all happen again the week after. We are excited already!
Enjoy the wonderful experience of being involved in something much greater than yourself- your sense of identity, belonging and express that passion for who you are.
Littlewoods Ireland are proud sponsors of the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship. Keep yourself up to date with all the #StyleOfPlay action over the summer right here!