Saturday 20 July 2019

Leinster fans pour into Newcastle ahead of Heineken Champions' Cup final against Saracens

L to R: Leinster fans Aidan Dillon and Michael Carolan from Co Meath
L to R: Leinster fans Aidan Dillon and Michael Carolan from Co Meath
Rory Tevlin

Rory Tevlin

Leinster fans are turning the banks of the River Tyne blue ahead of their clash with English titans Saracens this evening.

There has been a torrent of Irish rugby supporters flowing in to the north east from early morning as Leinster look to bag their fifth European crown.

L to R: Charlie Mudd from Deansgrange, Co Dublin, with Morgan Whittaker from Cornwall
L to R: Charlie Mudd from Deansgrange, Co Dublin, with Morgan Whittaker from Cornwall

They face a tough task in the shape of Sarries but fans who made the journey are feeling confident ahead of the 5pm kick-off.

Thirsty rugby fans mingled in Newcastle city centre from early on, drinking pints and enjoying the atmosphere.

Ciaran Kelly (48) from Naas, Co Kildare, Aaron Donnelly (41) and Alan Maleady (49) both from Clane were looking forward to an almighty tussle.

Ciaran told Independent.ie: "I think it is going to be a 3 point game, obviously going Leinster's way.

"The Vunipolas and Farrell are ones to watch, Saracens are a wrecking ball really."

After his performance in the semi-final Leinster fans are a bit wary of the influence Jerome Garces might have on proceedings.

Aaron said: "He doesn't referee the breakdown at all, he really lets its go."

Newcastle has embraced the occasion this weekend and there are fans from clubs all over Europe mingling ahead of the decider.

But the boys in blue were getting in to great spirits as morning turned into afternoon, with the sun even making a welcome appearance.

The showers that followed shortly after though could not put a dampener on the atmosphere.

Friends Michael Carolan and Aidan Dillon from Co Meath said the individual battles between Leinster and Saracens stars could make all the difference.

Michael said: "The battle between Sexton and Farrell will be a huge one.

"For us I think Scott Fardy will be an influential figure too.

"James Ryan was man of the match in the final last year so we will be hoping for him to have a big game too."

Aidan added: "I think it will be tight but a 34-30 win for Leinster."

Every county from the province is being proudly represented in Newcastle as the Leinster fans are certainly winning the battle for colour.

Carolyn Geelon from Dunshaughlin, Co Meath said the best two teams in the competition have ended up in the final.

She added: "I think it's a 50/50 match today.

"James Lowe will be a big player for Leinster. Furlong versus Vunipola versus Furlong will also be a big clash."

Friends Charlie Mudd (22) originally from Deansgrange, Co Dublin but living in the UK, and Morgan Whittaker (22) were sampling the Newcastle welcome.

Charlie told Independent.ie: "I am quietly confident, but my confidence has taken a bit of a dip.

"Sarries are back to top form, they are the only unbeaten team in the competition.

"The English teams all took a dip last year but Sarries are right back now.

"I think Leinster will edge it though, 28-21."

Leinter's non-playing stars mingled with fans and took photos ahead of this evening's clash.

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