Sunday 21 January 2018

Video: Frustrated, dejected and seriously out of pocket

Aoife Finneran

IRISH rugby fans arrived back home last night to count the cost of Saturday's Six Nations match cancellation fiasco.

A steady stream of supporters made their way through Dublin Airport, weary after a dramatic weekend which saw them brave sub-zero temperatures in a remote Parisian suburb only to discover at the last minute that Ireland's clash with France would not go ahead.

Many of them were out of pocket to the tune of up to €1,000.

"It's very frustrating," said Brian Cadigan, from Kilkenny, who had travelled to the match with his girlfriend Liz Evered, from Wexford.

"I'm a primary school teacher and you wouldn't have this sort of poor organisation with a school game."

Mr Cadigan and Ms Evered first met at last year's Heineken Cup final in Cardiff, but their attempts to recreate the magic at the match in Paris went badly wrong when referee Dave Pearson made the last-minute decision to cancel.

Ms Evered explained: "I got a text from a friend of mine at home at one minute past nine and she said it was a disgrace that the match was off but we hadn't heard a thing. As far as we were concerned it was going ahead, so we couldn't believe it."

Tony Markey, from Carlow, was one of the lucky ones who held on to his ticket. He told the Irish Independent: "I left the ticket with a colleague in France and he will hopefully be able to sort out the refund there."

Mr Markey revealed he is out of pocket to the tune of €900, having travelled over to Paris on Saturday morning.

The farcical situation is likely to impact on Ireland's support when the game is rescheduled, if fans decide not to shell out for flights and accommodation a second time.

A second jaunt to Paris isn't on the cards for student Darragh McCarthy, from Maynooth, either. The 23-year-old parted with about €500 to cover his flights and accommodation in Paris.

"The ticket was the least expensive part of the trip," he said. "It is annoying, because even if they had cancelled the match the day before it would have saved people a lot of hassle."

Given that Paris had languished in sub-zero temperatures all week, the last-minute cancellation proved infuriating for Iris Higgins, from Meath. She and her husband Bernard had travelled with friends Kate and Tom Fenlon, from Lucan, for the crunch game.

"We've been to a few matches abroad, we try to go once a year. We booked this trip last August and we had saved for it so we were really looking forward to it," Ms Higgins said.

"I could understand if they had made the decision a few days earlier. It was bitterly cold in the stadium and I heard from my sister at home that it was cancelled. We got out of there straight away."

Irish Independent

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