Tuesday 23 July 2019

Rory Tevlin: 'Leinster fans expecting 'tight' match - but confident they'll complete the drive for five'

Damian Howard, Matt Gallagher, and Luke and Derek Bray. Photo: Mark Condren
Damian Howard, Matt Gallagher, and Luke and Derek Bray. Photo: Mark Condren
Rory Tevlin

Rory Tevlin

Hordes of confident Leinster fans poured through Dublin Airport as the momentum gathered behind the club's drive for five.

The boys in blue are chasing history - a fifth European title - this evening in Newcastle, but face a Saracens juggernaut that choked the life out of Munster in their semi-final.

The word on every Leinster fan's lips yesterday at Dublin Airport was 'tight' and that is certainly how the bookmakers view this clash.

Father and son Stuart and Matthew Whitton, from Malahide, Co Dublin, were bullish about Leinster's chances.

Matthew (10), who is coached by his father on the under-11 team at Malahide Rugby Club, predicted a 39-5 drubbing for Sarries.

Stuart said: "This is my second final but it is Matthew's first. It is his first away game but we go to all the home games." Matthew added: "It is my birthday in 12 days' time so this trip is my present."

Greg Hanlon (42), from Naas, Co Kildare, used the 'T' word to describe Leinster's hopes.

He said: "It will be tight I think. I saw the team today though and I am feeling confident. It's a good team and a good bench.

"I was there in 2009 and 2011 but I missed 2012. This will be my third final."

Newcastle is a city more known for its beloved soccer club and they have always embraced a maverick talent.

For friends Matt Gallagher (45) from Raheny, Damien Howard (37) from Cork, and father and son Derek and Luke Bray from Coolock, this will be their 10th European final.

X-factor

And they believe it will be Leinster's own Kiwi maverick James Lowe who will make the difference in the end.

Matt said: "I think we will win but they are going to be very strong. [Owen] Farrell is the one to watch for them.

"James Lowe and [Scott] Fardy will be key for Leinster though. Lowe is just awesome.

Derek added: "He has that X-factor."

Friends Hazel Brown (34) from Dublin and Denise O'Brien (33) from Wexford were going the long way round to the north-east via London, but they don't care once they arrive on time.

Hazel said: "I think it will be tight but if we can win at the breakdown then that will go a long way."

If Leinster can topple the English kingpins it will be the fourth time the pals have witnessed Leinster claiming the title. But they were also looking forward to sampling some of Newcastle's famed night life after the match.

Denise explained: "We are dying to go to Pop World, they play all cheesy dance music.

"The atmosphere at these games is always great once the final whistle goes."

Irish Independent

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