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Dublin: 11°C Monday 17 May 2021

Do Irish rugby fans really need encouragement to cheer their country on?

The IRFU have taken to playing music and anthems over the P.A system to drum up support.

Brian O'Driscoll gets the Irish backline in order against Samoa.
Brian O'Driscoll gets the Irish backline in order against Samoa.
Image: INPHO/James Crombie

THERE WERE TWO stand-out moments from Ireland’s first scrum against Samoa last Saturday.

The first was the excellent body-shape and drive from young loose-head prop Jack McGrath as Ireland won a penalty. The second was the drum-beat that rang out around Lansdowne Road from the public address system.

The home side may have been favourites to beat Samoa, which they did, at the weekend but someone in the IRFU figured it would be a good idea to pipe in some music to get the fans going.

There was a crowd of just under 40,000 at the ground. It was Joe Schmidt’s first game in charge and Paul O’Connell would celebrate his captaincy by coming off the bench in the second-half. Brian O’Driscoll was in the mood for no-look passes and scoops to teammates from between his legs. There were five Ireland tries scored. And yet, the music droned on whenever there was a scrum or a break in play.

Saracens were condemned for playing music at such regular intervals when they took Munster on in the Heineken Cup, last December. Mick Cleary of The Telegraph called it ‘a blatant bit of gamesmanship to drown out the Munster hordes packed into Vicarage Road’.

Ireland hooker Sean Cronin was asked about the artificial atmosphere at Carton House, on Thursday, and took the query in good spirits. He said, “I wasn’t really listening out whether it was Katy Perry or who was playing the last day. I thought the crowd was fine against Samoa.

Obviously we would like to go up a few decibels as they say but it would be great. There is nothing better when a fella makes a break or a half break or a good pass, or we get in behind them and you hear the crowd really getting behind you, so hoping for that at the weekend.”

The games against Australia and New Zealand are sell-out affairs. World-class operators such as Quade Cooper, Israel Folau, Dan Carter and Julian Savea are bringing their talents to town and Irish rugby supporters should be in fine voice as their country looks to lay down an early World Cup marker.

Hopefully the IRFU leave it to the teams to generate the buzz and the supporters to whip up an atmosphere.

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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