The Loneliness of the Long Distance Connacht Fan – Part II

connacht1Resident BTL Weshtie Droptheclaw returns with the second of his three-part ode to masochism

And lo, this cultural hegemony of being put-upon seeps across all facets of Connacht Rugby life.

We are the underdog’s underdog, our status as a development team only affirming the suspicion of the average Connacht fan that the bigwigs at the IRFU have only one plan. To keep Connacht barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen, bearing talented players who offer a chink of light and hope, only for our brethren in the north, south and east to kick the kitchen door in, take the baby and punch the mother in the face.

Secret internal IRU document left on a Dublin bus confirms every Connacht fan's suspicions

Secret internal IRFU document left on a Dublin bus confirming every Connacht fan’s suspicions

For the most part, it has been ever thus. Formed in 1885, six years after the three other provinces, Connacht Rugby has a long history of competing valiantly and failing valiantly on the field. It’s in our DNA after all.

We lost everything at the Battle of Aughrim in 1691 except the map-drawing competition

We lost everything at the 1691 Battle of Aughrim except the map-drawing competition

Before the advent of professionalism and the Heineken Cup, the Interprovincial Championship was the place regular beatings were handed out to Connacht. We haven’t won in Ravenhill since 1960.

Competing against the “native” sports of Gaelic Football and Hurling, rugby is a less than widepsread game, albeit widely acknowledged as more civilised than Hurling.

Half-time in any Hurling match sees the physio hard at work

Half-time in any Hurling game sees the physio hard at work

Of the 90,000 rugby players in Ireland, only 7% play in Connacht, and, for many, the foreigners’ game is still viewed with deep suspicion and talked about darkly in murmured tones over pints of porter.

"There's these two it's two big buggers with 4 and 5 on their backs

“Imagine eight fat fellas stickin’ their heads up each others’ arses and callin’ it a game!”

Connacht Rugby’s existence depends on the IRFU because the vast majority of our funding comes from HQ. But it is not an easy dependency. Ten years ago, the IRFU in their infinite wisdom made moves to wrap up Connacht Rugby as an entity, the situation only reversed when hundreds of Connacht fans (a large crowd by Connacht standards) marched on the IRFU demanding they reverse the decision.

For appearances, Connacht fans bolstered their numbers with cardboard cutouts. The IRFU were oblivious.

For appearances, Connacht fans bolstered their numbers with cardboard cutouts. The IRFU were oblivious.

The IRFU, swayed by the turnout – cardboard and otherwise – did reverse their decision, and whilst it would be inopportune to say Connacht has never looked back since, a corner was turned. Or, at least for the fans, and population in general, it has offered that most precious of assets, something shared across the clubhouses of all rugby fans, everywhere: hope. And this is what it looks like:

More on its ramifications next time.

Received from Droptheclaw surely suffering by now from writer’s cramp

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1,084 Responses to The Loneliness of the Long Distance Connacht Fan – Part II

  1. mrgreysuit says:


    Yes, but how many of them concerned flat caps or pain aux raisins?

  2. meadesian says:

    According to the other place, there is now something called a Milf diet. Sounds tasty.

  3. dermott says:

    Morning all. Spiffing effort, everyone. A new blog record for comments without busting the software.

    New blog up:

  4. markrobotarm says:


    I’m not sure such conversational fripperies would be allowed, over there. If it’s not strictly on message, it’s disappeared.

    Another reason to be grateful to our benevolent overlords. They’re very indulgent of tangents, aren’t they?

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