5 Dec, 14:49
The Ireland U19 squad to face Australia Schools at Ravenhill on Saturday 14th December has been announced.
The sea of green that met the Irish team when they walked on to the pitch before their all-important match spilled on to the streets and into the pubs afterwards.
Almost everyone was wearing a green jersey, and many more painted their faces and dyed their hair green for the occasion.
Fans dressed up as St Patrick, leprechauns, the green giant and even Batman and Robin with green tights instead of flue and red. Pubs around the city ran out almost everything, with vodka and kegs of beer going first.
Many pubs were overwhelmed at the size and thirst of the Irish fans, determined to party long into the night after the win.
"What do you expect when a bunch of Paddies come to town?" said one fan, Eddie Shanley, who had travelled from Limerick for Sunday's game. "We have a reputation to maintain. We tried to drink this place out on Saturday but narrowly failed," he said.
A bar manager at one hotel bar put it in perspective: "We usually get through 20 kegs a week. This weekend we got through 35 on Saturday and Sunday morning alone and another 15 on Sunday night," said Michael O'Shaughnessy of the Rosemount Hotel.
The partying in the Hilton Hotel, where the team were staying, went on well into the night, and was still going at 6am local time. It continued yesterday as the team prepared to fly to Melbourne for next week's all important pool decider with Australia.
On Sunday night hundreds of fans danced around the hotel bar and a few went for a dip in the water pool in the centre of the lobby. Fans of all ages packed into the hotel straight after the match to await the team's arrival. Fans as young as two and as old as 80 awaited the team's arrival in the hotel lobby, and in the adjoining bar.
When the team arrived back under heavy security shortly after 11pm local time they were greeted to explosive applause as up to 1,000 fans rushed to greet them and cheer them on. The cheers and applause were deafening as supporters showed their appreciation for a job well done.
Players including Brian O'Driscoll, Ronan O'Gara, Reggie Corrigan, and Denis Hickie were all in huge demand as fans wished them well and shook their hands and asked for autographs. The players were also more than happy to pose for photographs with delighted supporters.
The singsongs started almost immediately and Molly Malone and The Fields of Athenry got more than a few airings. The Rose Of Tralee and Sean South of Garryowen also proved to be popular ballads with the hundreds of Munster fans in the crowds.
The Irish are now expected to make their way in convoys to Melbourne in time for next weekend's festival of sport.
Ireland plays Australia in the international rules series on Friday before taking on the Wallabies in the final pool match of the rugby world cup on Saturday.
The famous Melbourne Cup horse race is on the following Tuesday, November 4.
A win for the Irish rugby team against Australia would see them top the group and play Scotland in a quarter final in Brisbane on November 8. A loss to Australia would mean Ireland comes second in the group and face France in Melbourne the following weekend.
Should they beat France they would almost certainly meet England in a semi-final grudge match.
(Tom Felle - The Irish Echo)