Timaru was a good place to be Irish in last Saturday after the opening tour game. There had been a strong Irish presence at the game and most locals had adopted the team as their own.
At the Alpine Energy Stadium, on the grassy bank opposite the main stand a large green-clad group made no secret of who they were supporting and after the game they were gathered in the large marquee where Irish music competed with the big screen showing of the All Blacks v Italy game.
Maura Ronald from nearby Temuka said she was desperately proud of the way the Irish played. Maura a bank official, was there with her husband Bob but she’s from Annacarthy – Maura Quinn – near Dundrum in Co Tipperary and has been living in New Zealand now for twenty years.
Mick Kelly and Seamus Toomey, from Bruff, are out here on a five week break and will take in the Tests in Dunedin and Auckland. Mick Hayes was also on hand to lend some brotherly support to Irish prop John. Mick is working in Invercargill.
Later on in the night the majority of the squad ended up in the Sails bar where we ran into Aaron Spring, son of Dick, who is working and playing rugby in Christchurch. RTE Radio’s Michael Corcoran landed in for a few beers as did photographer Matt Browne and a Kildareman who showed a nice turn of pace on the dance floor was Conor Brophy from Ardclough. His father Pat is the incoming President of Naas Rugby Football Club.