Tuesday, June 23, 2009

First Test

So it’s the eve of the first test and everybody is geared up for it. We always meet as a team the night before a match at 6.15 pm where Paulie (Paul O’Connell) and a few other boys say a few words. Paulie spoke really passionately about the game ahead and it started to hit home what actually was awaiting the lucky 22 players. The mood was really good and everyone was all geared up for the first whistle.

After dinner that evening myself, Lukey, Paulie and Neil (one of our security guys) went to the cinema to see The Hangover where we laughed straight for about two hours. Paulie looked liked one giant red tomato after it all. I haven’t seen a movie as funny as that in a long time, always good for the nerves to get out and about and try to take your mind off the game. On leaving the cinema we bumped into the funnymen Hector Ó Eochagáin and Risteárd Cooper who are back again with their candid commentary of the tour. We were having a good chat before Lukey and Hector started blabbing away together as Gaelige and that was the end of that!

I came back to the hotel at about 10pm, got my boots and went to Rala’s room for the pre match ritual of changing studs and giving them a clean! It’s something the Irish boys do in his room before every test, just one of these traditions that nobody likes to miss and will even knock on his door early in the morning to get it done. Rala being the welcoming character he is, puts on his smiley face (even if he doesn't want to!) and opens the door! Thankfully I always sleep well before games, and nod off at around 11 excited about what lay ahead...

We had our usual pre-game routine, boring breakfast and the ever tasteless chicken and pasta. The team met at 1.30pm for the presentation of our jerseys. We were honored to have Willie John Mc Bride do the duties, he gave us a few inspirational words and the fact that we were embarking on a special moment began to sink in.

Unfortunately the end result didn't go our way, everybody was gutted after the game but we know we have what it takes to beat them next time, we just have to get out of the blocks earlier! Making my test debut was a very proud moment for me and hopefully I'll get the opportunity to wear the jersey again.