Irish pub in Bordeaux to serve as HQ to rugby fans

Sat, Apr 28, 2012, 01:00

IT’S GOING to be a busy weekend at the Connemara Pub in Bordeaux. The Irish bar has been selected to serve as a temporary headquarters for some 3,000 Leinster rugby fans travelling to the south of France for the next step in their Heineken Cup defence.

The Connemara will serve as a centre for eating, drinking and internet access as well as being the starting point for a march of fans tomorrow afternoon to the nearby Stade Chaban-Delmas.

The idea for the march was inspired by fans of tomorrow’s opposition Clermont Auvergne who marched from Dublin’s O’Connell Street to the RDS ahead of a game against Leinster two years ago. “We have a great relationship with Clermont fans,” said David Cahill, of the Leinster Supporters Club. “We’ve played them three times in three years. Their supporters rocked the RDS in 2010. We’re hoping to return the favour.”

The rise in Leinster’s fortunes has coincided with a decline in the finances of Irish people, a fact Cahill said was reflected by the size of the travelling contingent. In 2006, Leinster brought as many as 8,000 to Toulouse for a Heineken Cup quarter final but with the Bordeaux trip likely to cost “€300 before you even get there”, Cahill says fans are holding off. “The economic situation hasn’t helped and some people are more careful with their money.”

For those travelling, there is much to look forward to. Declan Doyle, from Sandyford in Dublin, said he was “confident but wary” about Leinster’s prospects of getting the job done and setting up a potential final against Ulster. “There’s great craic with the French fans. They do love us,” he said. “They wish you the best of luck and when you beat them they are happy for you.”