Welsh fans in full voice as they sample Dublin’s charms

A choir of rugby voices fills the valleys of Temple Bar

Welsh supporters from Tredegar, south Wales (from left):  Graham George, Dai Williams and Neil Evans in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Welsh supporters from Tredegar, south Wales (from left): Graham George, Dai Williams and Neil Evans in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Sat, Feb 8, 2014, 01:00

In the Auld Dubliner, some red-eyed auld fellas from Wales were giving a rousing rendition of Brown Eyed Girl.

“We will never bow down to pressure,” pronounced Darrell Willington (59).

That’s Darrell who is about to get married.

For the first time.

After living with Debbie for 12½ years.

Clearly Darrell takes pressure in his stride and doesn’t give in easily. The team he supports will be hoping to do the same in the Aviva today. . . and come out on top.

Darrell and friends from Pembroke in southwest Wales (Llanion Warriors Rowing Club and Pembroke Rubgy Club) were making their presence felt in Dublin’s Temple Bar – along with one or two others whose bright-red garb might, on another day and in another place, have them mistaken for Munster supporters.


‘Bread of Heaven’
The bulging, heaving one-for-all and all-for-one Auld Dubliner crowd veered off into a version of Bread of Heaven that would have had them weeping in the valleys and was only quelled when Brian McLaughlin and his acoustic guitar – a lovely full, voluptuous sound – struck up The Fields.

Shape of things to come?

“The breakdown will be the battle of the game,” said former rugby coach Darrell.

“But the new laws in the scrummage favour the Irish. As to the backs, we’ve got the power but Ireland has the finesse. It won’t be an open game.”

Across the way in the Oliver St John Gogarty, Cilian Doherty on banjo and Ian Kinsella on acoustic guitar were duelling before belting out Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues.

Musical murder

“We didn’t play well against Italy but you didn’t have a good first half against Scotland,” said Phil Stroud, over from Cardiff with pal John, both supporters of Ynysddu (pronounced Anna-Stee) Rugby Club, in the tiny Caerphilly village

.

Down in the Teac na Céibe, representatives of several nationalities were united in joyous disharmony as they committed musical murder on Molly Malone. At length and many times over.

Meanwhile, in the back room of the Palace Bar, a more refined class of rugby visitor sampled one or two calm pints under the silent, watchful eyes of, among others, Paddy Kavanagh and Flann O’Brien, who might have a thing or two to say about it all.