Saturday 16 December 2017

Purple reign as rugby tribes go insane for the day

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

There were high-pitched warbles, screams and plenty of OMG moments -- and that was just the boys.

You would have been forgiven for thinking a mild bout of tribalism had broken out in Dublin 4.

Hordes of colour-coded rugby fans descended on Donnybrook for the semi-final of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup.

One mother cringed at the stinging impact as a purple-and-white-clad Clongowes boy crunched into one of his opponents from St Michael's.

She admitted that, thankfully, none of her boys in St Michael's had been too fond of rugby, as another player limped off the field.

They train day-in, day-out for years for the "glory" of making the senior team in the quest for the holy grail of schools rugby -- then when they reach third-level, they find they are small fish in a big pond and many don't play again, she explained.

Dozens of perfectly made-up young women, wearing Ugg boots and boasting uniforms from Mount Anville and Loreto on the Green, kept a close eye on the players.

"Luke Byrne is God," sighed one of them about the captain of St Michael's. Judging by the chants, quite a few in the 6,000-strong crowd agreed with her.

With blue stripes painted across his face, one of the St Michael's supporters was dressed in an eye-catching blue lycra suit that he said he'd ordered from England. "Around 15 arrived and there are a good few wearing them," he said.

"It's insane," the pupil said of the rivalry between the schools. "It's key," said another.

The excitement peaked as the Clongowes and St Michael's supporters -- carefully separated by security staff -- leaped around in ecstasy when their respective teams scored a try.

In the end, Clongowes claimed a place in the final at the RDS on St Patrick's Day after a thrilling 34-20 victory.

Match report: Sport

Irish Independent

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