Tuesday 23 October 2018

Sports fans - get ready for 14 hours of roaring at your telly

Aaron O’Neill, Portadown, and Rebecca Walsh, Cork, were among fans in Copenhagen
Aaron O’Neill, Portadown, and Rebecca Walsh, Cork, were among fans in Copenhagen

Ryan Nugent

With four Ireland national teams competing over the course of just under 14 hours across four different sports, a weekend of sheer patriotism is on the cards. So for the couch-bound fans, as Roy Keane said: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Today

4pm: You've already decided to take in the game with friends and family at home, so this is the calm before the storm. Get your pre-match meal in now. If you leave it any later, the time to prepare a meal between 5.30pm and 10pm will be non-existent.

5pm: The build-up begins. This is when you can mentally prepare yourself for what's to come and it's also your last chance to stick on a cheeky bet for all four Irish sides to emerge victorious. At 20/1, it's probably worth a fiver.

5.30pm: Rugby, Guinness Series - Ireland v South Africa, RTÉ 2: This is it. No movement from the sitting room and time to (hopefully) bask in the glory of the first leg of four Irish victories.

What to look out for: Bundee Aki - the New Zealander's debut for Ireland has come under much scrutiny and he's set to be centre of attention.

6.15pm (ish): Depending on stoppages in play - this will be half time, and while the marathon will only be in its early days, it might be time to start thinking of sustenance. By full time, the local takeaways will be out the door, so the trick is to get your order lined up on the app of your choice and then press send with about 30 minutes left in the match.

7.20pm (again ish): With the time stoppages in rugby, it's hard to know exactly when this game will finish, but we've made a stab at it. Luckily for you, you'll be watching the matches in the comfort of your own home and won't face a scramble from the Aviva Stadium to find a pub that's not already packed. You'll be collecting your pizza at the front door and sitting down just in time to hear Eamon Dunphy's despair at Wes Hoolahan being left on the bench.

7.45pm: World Cup Qualifier - Denmark v Republic of Ireland, RTÉ 2: This. Is. It. Even the most ardent rugby supporter would probably agree that this is the biggest match of the weekend. And don't be afraid to scream and shout, even if it's only at the TV. That's what being a football fan is all about, according to leading sports psychologist Niamh Fitzpatrick. She explained that far from being emotionally draining, this marathon of big events should get the juices flowing.

"Why would you curb that? If you scream at the TV and then go scream at your cat and your dog or your family then you have a problem. But if you scream at your TV and you really get into it and your neighbours can hear the roars as a goal is scored, then happy days. That's what being a supporter is all about," Ms Fitzpatrick said.

What to look out for?

An Ireland goal hopefully. But otherwise it's always worth keeping an eye around the stadium to see how many Irish have managed to infiltrate the home end.

8.30pm: It's half time and a chance to perhaps nip to the loo and fill up on the beverage of choice and maybe throw your eye to Dunphy, Brady and co.

8.45pm: Back to probably high-octane action. More shouting and screaming at the TV for 45 minutes.

9.30pm: Full time. You've got through half of the matches. It's probably a time to reflect on sheer joy or contemplate what next after crushing defeat. The main thing is to keep it in perspective, according to Ms Fitzpatrick. "If in any of the games Ireland are defeated, then as a supporter it is important to not let that overly dictate your mood."

11pm: The analysis of the games is over. We recommend not attempting to stay awake all night for the International Rules, as you will most likely fall asleep before or mid-way through.

Tomorrow

4.45am: Set the alarm for this time, so with a bit of luck you might just get out of bed for a 5am start in Adelaide.

5am: International Rules - Australia v Ireland, RTÉ 2: Make sure you've a tea or coffee at hand for this. Just getting through this one is an achievement given the early start. There are four quarters of 18 minutes, so lots of opportunities to refuel.

What to look out for?

Some hard-hitting tackles. These games have been rough over the years, and though that's dissipated somewhat in recent years, there should still be enough spice.

7.30am: World Cup Rugby League - Wales v Ireland, Eir Sport 2: Seeing as you've made it through the first three, it's time to complete the clean sweep.

What to look out for?

Maybe a count of how many tries Ireland manage to score. Bookmakers have odds for the Irish of as short as 1/50, so expect a mauling.

9.20am: It might be an idea to head back to bed for a couple of hours, hopefully in the knowledge of some very positive Ireland results.

Irish Independent

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