Friday 24 November 2017

Off The Ball: Stradbally on Electric Picnic Sunday the best place on earth to watch sport

I made the pilgrimage to Stradbally last weekend for the Electric Picnic festival. The 72-hour jamboree is the closest many of us will get to going to war.

It is a test of the body and the elements. However, I was determined to suspend the revelry to enjoy some of Sunday's live sport – but there were no sports bars at the festival proper.

So, I started the lonely trek out to Stradbally village at a quarter to three. When I finally reached civilisation, it was as if the picturesque village had been taken over by the cast of 'Mad Max'. I tried entering three pubs before I finally found enough daylight to enter Napper Tandy's.

That afternoon, I realised Stradbally on an Electric Picnic Sunday could be the best place on earth to watch sport.

The matches themselves were kind of a concert. The giddiness of the Liverpool fans at full-time was intoxicating. The chants of "we're gonna win the league" went on for 15 minutes.

A second wave of sports fans settled in time for the hallucinatory start of Dublin-Kerry I distinctly remembering seeing a shirtless, tattooed, 50-something-year-old hippie run into the bar after the shouts rang out for Paul Mannion's goal.

You don't get that in the Big Tree.

It was as if time itself stopped when the shot by Kevin McManamon (left) soared beyond Brendan Kealy's outstretched arm towards an unknown destination.

You could hear the Dubs fans' celebratory roar back at the festival.


Irish Independent

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