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Tuesday 12 December 2017

VIDEO: Irish lads hitch a lift in flat back van to Irish rugby game

Some of their wives are not happy with their antics

Clare Cullen

Clare Cullen

A group of six Irish men hitched a lift with a kind-hearted van driver in order to make Cardiff in time to watch Ireland play.

The six friends Jimmy Dawson, Ian Stanley, Frank Murphy, John Cavanagh, Damien Whitford and Denis Roche were staying in Caervilly, some eight miles from Cardiff, the night before the match.

When a few sore heads went to book a taxi on Sunday morning they realised that they'd left it too late. "Taxis were booked for two hours.... we went to the train station, and they weren't running for an hour either".

Pressed for time, they had to get inventive. Denise Roche (26) told that he "thumbed down this fella, Rowley Ward was his name. He said 'jump in the back'. It was probably a bad idea but walking eight miles hungover would have been worse!"

Roche says that Ward had a soft spot for the Irish, having worked in Ireland for a few years, and picked up the group when he spotted the green jerseys. "He said he always wanted to help Irish people so he pulled in... it was a bit of a dangerous one, I suppose, but we would have missed the match otherwise".

Ward took two of the men in the front and the other four had to sit in the back of the flat-back transit van, hair blowing in the wind. "It was about thirty minutes we were on it... up the N4 and the dual carriageway before he dropped us off in the centre of Cardiff... it was madness".

Ward got the group to their destination in time to see Ireland beat France to advance to the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup. Roche said that the group was very grateful for the help from a kind stranger. "We tried to pay him but he wouldn't take it... he was just delighted to help out".

Roche confirms that the wives have seen the video... "They laughed at first... I think one is a bit annoyed we were so stupid!"

"Desperate times lead to desperate measures!"

The van wasn't the only thing the group shared over the weekend away.

"We were lucky to get accommodation that time - there was six of us in one room!"

All in all, it was "worth it", he said, for such a "brilliant weekend".

"We'll try to get over now for the final if they get that far!"

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