I arrived at Lotts Bar in Liffey Street on Saturday morning, late as usual. The bar was covered outside and inside with QPR flags; very impressive. Everywhere blue and white hooped jerseys were to be seen, fantastic turnout, many familiar faces and others that I hadn’t met before.
The first person I met outside was the one and only Mr Russell, who had travelled over with JJ and had made their way down to Dublin from Mayo.
I only had one pint due to my late arrival and travelled out to Tallaght with Dubliner, his son Conor, Steve Russell and JJ. The ground is on the edge of the Dublin mountains and it was very cold inside, especially after the fantastic weather we’ve been having.
To the game itself; Rovers started the sharper of the two sides as would be expected, as they are in mid-season and it took us a while to get going. But once Junior Hoilett scored on 17 minutes following a through ball from Ale Faurlin, we were well in control.
At this point Steve Russell leaned over and said: “And after Junior Hoilett had scored on 17 minutes, John22 produced the sausage sandwiches with brown sauce”. Unfortunately I hadn’t got any, I did produce a bar of Turkish Delight, but although I shared it with some, it was hardly the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. And I’m sorry to say that there were some amongst us who did go hungry! Charlie Austin added a second with a well-placed header: 2-0 up at half-time.
During the interval I met up with Stephen Cross – he was staying in the Maldron Hotel near the ground and told me that he wasn’t going back to the Lotts Bar in the city centre. Also at half-time Qprmeath introduced me to Ming Flanagan, TD from Mayo, and Noel took my photo with him.
I said to Ming: “I believe you missed the play-off final due to the elections”, and he confirmed it. So I then advised him that ‘he’ll have to get his priorities right’, which he laughed at.
Also Big Jim Power from Waterford made an appearance at half-time with his son. Big Jim is a legend in his own county having been present when Waterford beat St. Pats 1-0, I think it was, in the 1980 FAI Cup Final!
The second-half flew by; it was 88 minutes gone when Hoilett scored again with a fine shot from the edge of the area, which took a slight deflection, excellent goal. Shortly after, Austin scored his second with an easy header. Apart from a glorious chance for Rovers when Caulker slipped, there was no real threat on the Rangers goal. After 60 minutes the heavens opened and we had to take refuge further back in the stand.
A fantastic turnout for the game, a good pre-season workout, and Clint Hill, who didn’t play, got a great reception when he did a warm-up in front of the R’s fans.
Joey Barton played well throughout; Junior Hoilett was very lively and sharp and it was good to see Ale Faurlin back. And as mentioned on the message board, Traore’s delivery was very poor.
During the match, Dubliner reflected on how you used to be able to see the Hellfire Club on top of the mountain until they grew all those trees up there. The Hellfire Club was well known for witchcraft practices many moons ago, and Alan said that he had been up there himself. I don’t know what his involvement was, and who am I to judge, but it does make you wonder?
Back in the Lotts Bar the pints were flowing. Eamonn (finglasqpr), told us of his encounter with a German fan at the pre-season friendly last week. And outside one of the English lads over for the game related how he was so pissed off after the ’86 final that he punched an Oxford fan and as he was in the army at the time ended up in the glasshouse as he called it!
Qprmeath, Noel Dunne, kept going on about the new spuds he had produced and how they would revolutionise the potato industry in Ireland! If they had been around during the Great Famine of the 1800’s, so many lives could have been saved I thought to myself.
Then he had a few words with one of the staff and the finger-food arrived; finger-licking chicken, which is not really a substitute for sausage sandwiches with brown sauce, but they went down very well and were much appreciated by all, and especially me.
I left the bar about 10.15 and got on a bus for the 20 minute journey to Blanchardstown to have a beer with a mate of mine. Fell asleep upstairs and only woke up to an empty bus when my mate called me at 11.10.
“Where are you?” he said. I looked out the window, but couldn’t recognise where I was, there wasn’t a soul on the bus. So I went downstairs and asked the bus driver.
“Can you tell me where we are?” I said.
“Don’t talk to me when I’m driving!” he shouted aggressively at me.
I said: “Don’t shout at me, I just want to know where we are?”
Again he repeated: “Don’t talk to me when I’m driving, Clonsilla, Ongar”, he said.
I had to wait five minutes before I recognised a landmark and as I left the bus I advised the driver that he needed to work on his customer service skills. I then got a taxi back to the pub.
Inside my sister, niece and my mate Larry were there, laughing when I told them about the bus driver. The music was pumping in the pub and I danced the night away with my niece. At the end of the night an ‘oul lad came over and started a sing-song.
Not a bad day!
(The above pics were taken by Dubliner and used with permission)