Raising the bar at the Aviva

 

Sir, – I like, many others, consider supporting our Irish rugby team a joy and a privilege. They really are a credit and have contributed in no small way to Irish national pride over the past decade. We punch above our weight as a rugby nation and now are number one in the world. Thank you, Joe Schmidt.

I attended the game in the Aviva on Saturday last with an old friend of mine. We will almost certainly never attend an international rugby game together again. It costs a lot to attend. It takes some organising to sort the logistics of going, including the endurance test which is the Iarnród Éireann Boyle to Sligo train.

The staff of the Aviva, the Garda Síochána­and other staff are impeccable at streaming over 50,000 fans to the correct part of the stadium and then to their correct seats. “I am here”, I say to myself. Relief. Now I have nothing between me and the next 80 minutes of the thing I love.

Except, sadly, I am wrong. There is a new sort of Mexican wave after entering Irish sport. Let’s call it the “Paddy wave”. It involves people of all ages, gender and social circumstance.

Here’s how it goes. People come to their seats, and having located said row and number they then go to the bar. Soon they return, with pints and G&Ts. Sometimes there are special carriers for the quantities of drink. I saw one gentleman whom had been provided with the base of a drinks case to ease his burden. The Paddy wave occurs at vital and momentous moments in the game. Penalty kicking and five-metre scrums all get ignored as entire rows of seated people all over the stadium have to stand to allow the “carrier” reach their destination.

The Paddy wave is a serious issue. It’s brought the commodification of a match experience to a new level. Frankly, the IRFU and the management of the Aviva need to cop on and think again about how fans get to experience a game.

Close or limit the bar areas while games are on. It’s embarrassing. – Yours, etc,

PATSY BRADY,

Carrowkeel,

Co Sligo.

Sir, – Perhaps no one but Joe Schmidt himself could have written the script whereby, with the final whistle at the Aviva, the team reached number one in the world rankings. Thanks to him and Rory Best for their achievements, and the style in which they delivered them. And, just maybe, there’s more to come. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN O’BRIEN,

Kinsale,

Co Cork.