‘NZ is packed with Irish fans’

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Following Ireland’s victory over the USA on Sunday morning, New Zealand is now packed with Irish fans, according to one Inishowen man who attended the game in New Plymouth.

Declan Allen from Drung, Quigley’s Point went to his first ever Ireland rugby match on Sunday morning and was amazed to find how much support there was for the boys in green.

Having recently moved to Wellington, Declan, 24, and a number other Irish friends travelled to the match on Saturday, saying there is a lot of people coming from Australia to cheer on the team.

“The atmosphere was amazing,” said Declan. “New Plymouth was packed with Irish people, its not a big town, but I couldn’t believe how many people there were backing Ireland. There was fanzone areas set up for the fans who travelled to the town, and inside every one there was Irish bands or music playing, it was great.

“A number of friends of mine from Carndonagh Community School, who are living in Australia, including Andrew Harkin from Moville, are coming to stay with me for some of the Irish games.”

Despite loving his first experience, the Quigley’s Point man said he won’t be able to go to all of them.

“I work in a bar in Wellington, beside the rugby stadium, so when there is a match on there I’m needed to work, but if Ireland get to the quarter-final they’ll be playing here and I’ll definitely go back and see them. I never went to see them in Dublin before, so I thought I’d made a bit of an adventure out of it.”

Declan says the feeling around Wellington itself is generally one of joy as English, Welsh Scottish and South African fans flock to the country to watch their beloved teams.

“There is a lot of sports fans about, but there is a great atmosphere in the area. I’m generally never met friendlier people, and despite the expense in the tickets and cost of living, its a great place.”

Finally as Inishowen gets pleated with wind and rain this week, according to the 24-year-old the wind and rain hasn’t stopped.

“We got soaked at the match, and since I came here, it has been so windy, and that comes from someone who lived at the top of Drung Hill for 24 years!” Laughed Declan.