Wonka and football final on the big screen serve up a treat
More than 1,000 fans who missed out on coveted All Ireland tickets braved the rain and packed into Market Square in Smithfield to watch the final between Dublin and Mayo yesterday.
The big screen, erected by Dublin City Council (DCC) and Light House Cinema, was a hit with both fans young and old as it served as free entertainment, screening 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory', as well as the All Ireland minor football match, followed by the nail-biting senior championship decider, which ended in a draw after a tense final showdown.
"It's been a great day all things considered," said mum of two Antoinette Leonard (42), from Ballymun in Dublin.
"Having the chance to watch the game on the big screen was fab. And a much better idea than sitting at home or in a packed pub.
"I can't be doing that with the kids."
According to DCC, following the success of its screening of Ireland's Euros game against France during the summer, the decision was made to create a "family-friendly" focal point for GAA fans who missed out on tickets for Croke Park.
And it paid off with a welcoming atmosphere on the old cobblestoned square.
"We'll definitely be back for the replay," said dad of two Paul Peate-Morgan (45), who drove to Dublin from Ratoath in Co Meath with his wife Michelle and daughters Caitlin (9) and Saoirse (7), yesterday morning.
"You'd have more chance of finding gold in the Liffey than you would of getting an All Ireland ticket, so this is the next best thing," he said.
"There's a great atmosphere, tons of fans, and lots for the children to do while you're waiting for the game.
"We're really excited for it. The girls are such big Dublin fans it's a little crazy.
"We're from Bluebell, in south west Dublin originally, so they're always proud to show off their county colours."
Proud mum Michelle added: "Every match day, they've their flags flying high from their bedroom windows."
Among those making their All Ireland debut at Smithfield was one-year-old Conor Fleming, who was cradled among the crowds by mum Caroline Fleming (31).
Unfazed by the noise and bad weather, the infant only took his eyes off the big screen at the end of the game.
"Of course he'd fall asleep just as things got exciting," laughed mum Caroline.
"His dad is at the game so we figured here would be the next best thing. The rain aside, it's been a fun day."