Wednesday 26 July 2017

'Superfan' Rebecca (17) travels all night to welcome home rugby heroes

Rebecca Compton meets Robbie Henshaw at Dublin Airport Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Rebecca Compton meets Robbie Henshaw at Dublin Airport Picture: Kyran O'Brien

Ryan Nugent

She is perhaps Irish rugby's most dedicated fan. After the 111-year wait for the boys in green to defeat the All Blacks, Rebecca Compton thought little of travelling through the night to welcome them home.

The 17-year-old journeyed all the way from Roscommon to Dublin Airport on a bus - just to catch a glimpse of her heroes.

Due to the 5.45am arrival time, Rebecca was the only Irish fan present at the arrivals gate to greet the team following a victory that will be etched into Irish rugby folklore forever.

Spectacular

Cian Healy and Johnny Sexton in the arrivals hall after their flight from Chicago Photo: Kyran O’Brien
Cian Healy and Johnny Sexton in the arrivals hall after their flight from Chicago Photo: Kyran O’Brien

For many fans who had celebrated all weekend, the pre-dawn start on Monday would have been far too early.

But Rebecca said she was never going to miss the chance to greet the team after their spectacular victory in Chicago on Saturday night.

The avid supporter hopped on a bus from Roscommon to Dublin at 1.30am and arrived at the airport at 4am - just to ensure she didn't miss anything. As the team landed at Terminal 2, she was waiting at the arrivals gate with a collection of more than 20 flags stuck together - all from different Ireland matches she has attended.

"I didn't know whether they were going to be here at half five, or quarter to 10, but I was going to be here either way," she said.

"I didn't get to go to Chicago so I wanted to show my support for the team," she added.

Having got photos with a host of stars, Munster fan Rebecca said the trip was certainly worth it - particularly because she got to meet scrum-half Conor Murray, who posed for a selfie and even signed her Munster jersey.

"The fact that I was able to be right in front of them was amazing," she said.

The Leaving Cert student admitted she couldn't bear to watch the last 10 minutes of the game after New Zealand came back into it.

As the team headed for training yesterday, it emerged Ireland's vice-captain Jamie Heaslip is among six nominees for the World Rugby player of the year award.

Irish Independent

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