I went to the Aviva stadium on Landsdowne Road last night to the Republic of Ireland versus Austria football match. It was a qualifying match for the 2014 World Cup which will take place in Brazil (Road To Rio).
|The band ready for the teams to arrive on the pitch for the anthems.
I was very lucky because I got 2 tickets very cheap! My mobile phone network 3 (Three Ireland) sponsors the national football team so they do a special 2 for 1 special offer for tickets to home matches. It's first come, first served and the number of seats available on this offer are extremely limited so I made sure to buy the seats quickly. It was a huge bargain in the end, two tickets were 17.50 each so my whole bill came to around €38.50 altogether including booking fee! I thought this was a great price- Imagine my surprise when I checked the actual price of seats in the section I bought in and found them to be €45! Each! So many thanks to Three for such a great deal!
|There's Trap himself in his suit! (We were sooo far from the halfway line!!)
We were seated in section 116, my friend who was seated in 114 (The 'singing section') said that there's be a lot of atmosphere where we were and he was right! The seats were perfect- Really close to the pitch, close enough to the lads starting all the chants but yet far enough away that we weren't getting annoyed by them.
|I'm glad I painted my face because I was so bundled up I didn't look like an Irish fan at all apart from it!
|Sub-zero temperatures and still smiling! (Some of us)
Austria scored an early goal which was disheartening but Ireland were soon awarded a penalty and Walters made it 1 all. Ireland scored again to go in winning at half time, it was a pity that all those goals were scored at completely the other end of the pitch than we were sitting :( In the second half there was one more goal, scored by Austria (in the 3rd minute of injury time) and this was once again at the other end of the pitch. Of well.
I was a bit disappointed that we didn't win. It was a draw that felt like a loss. Although I admit that the equaliser goal seemed inevitable throughout the whole second half and we definitely were not the better team, I'm really not sure where the referee got 3 minutes of extra time from?! He only gave one in the first half and there was a lot more stoppages during the first half!
|Shane Long there, number 9, we saw a lot of him in the second half.
|McLean ready to take a corner (The camera got very excited and was shaking!!)
One thing I found from being present in the stadium was that I really got carried away with the whole crowd mentality. At home when watching the match on tv you only really get excited over really good play. In the stadium you cheer for everything! The goalkeeper catches the ball... "Whoop whoop!" The other team make a bad pass... "Come On Ireland!!!" I even found myself nearly booing when the ref made decisions against Ireland! I was constantly jumping to my feet and clapping and chanting. It was great! There was so much energy.
I thoroughly enjoyed my night and will definitely be attending every home match from now on- Especially since I get the tickets so cheap! I'd love to go to an away match also, unfortunately it looks unlikely that I will not have the money and time for this during the current campaign. I'll definitely plan a trip to see Ireland play away during the next Euro qualifiers though!