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Farewell to Reading
Posted by: orsoncart (IP Logged)
Date: 26 June, 2020 17:53

So the Club has played its last game at Reading, many will be relieved at this and will be looking forward to the next chapter.

In spite of rumours to the contrary, Reading wasn't all bad. I first started coming along twenty years ago, in the era of Strudwick, Hardwick, Hatley etc. and turned from a casual spectator into a supporter and then a STH. Of all the games in Reading, the evening match v Munster and the quarter v Perpignan stand out, and of all the players, Tagi and Steffon were the two that I thought were genuinely world class (appreciate that I shall have a bit of disagreement there).

The move has been sorted out and I genuinely hope that the Club makes a massive success of it. The Reading deal clearly was not to our advantage, to put it mildly. I won't be there as transport links for anything other than a mid afternoon game are borderline impossible. If I have one tinge of regret, it would be that the Club could possibly have been a bit more proactive about car parking for us middle distance supporters.

But that's my problem ....... and I hope that the Club has none moving forward.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 27/06/2020 14:47 by orsoncart.

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: Shawshank (IP Logged)
Date: 26 June, 2020 18:31

Yep Orson, many great memories.

Id agree on your 2 stand out matches, but would add in our crucial relegation win v Bristol, and that glorious evening v Carnegie when Lewi sealed promotion with his amazing tries.

Other favourites were the Shane DG to beat Exeter at the final whistle, that utterly ridiculous draw v Dax when their fly-half kicked about 7 DGs but we still qualified, beating Toulouse when they were top dog, and a great Christmas win v Sarries in the final moments.

Im sure there are many more...

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: shimmieandshake (IP Logged)
Date: 26 June, 2020 18:58

I'd agree on the Tagi and Steffon front. Tagi had a couple of seasons - around 09/10, I guess - where he was borderline untackleable. First man always beaten, even from a standing start.

Maps was obviously class, Catt had a huge influence, and although he wasn't on the level of the others, I always thought Dodge was massively important to how we played and general atmosphere around the club.

Will never forget Big Bob hoofing it into touch to signal the end of that Perpignan game and have many fond memories of Chris Sheasby dropping deep to catch kicks and run them back, but I think my favourite memory is playing Northampton (maybe 05/06 season, could have been earlier?), around thirty points up, nearing the 80th minute and Danaher chipping over the winger, collecting and sauntering in with a large grin on his face.

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: The Sligo Rover (IP Logged)
Date: 26 June, 2020 19:27

Old knees up Sheasby - what a player. I will never forget the smile on that mans face when we won The Powergen Cup. Now that was a performance to match those already mentioned.

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: Royalsfan (IP Logged)
Date: 26 June, 2020 19:55

Im primarily a Royals fan but it has been a pleasure having Irish share the stadium and you will be missed.
I was at the vast majority of Irish matches, although in a working capacity, and it was great to chat and get to know many people over the years.
I mostly only got to see the second half of games, but did so from very close to the action. A big memory will be seeing the sheer power and athleticism of many world class players in green, and in other colours ( Billy Vunipola a couple of years ago dragging 3 or 4 Irish players across the try line was awesome !).
Personal highlight was going to NYC for the Sarries game. Not a great game, maybe not a great idea but travelling to watch rugby in the States was an experience.
I wish you all the best at Brentford, I hope it is a great success and if it means Irish can become a power again it will be worthwhile. For all sorts of reasons Im unlikely to get to many games, but will be watching the results.
All the best, fare thee well and COYI

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: dooj106 (IP Logged)
Date: 26 June, 2020 21:13

I agree with all that has been said. For me, the game that sticks in the memory the most is the evening Heineken cup game against Munster (2010?)....hearing 20,000+ fans singing 'The Fields of Athenry' under the mad stad lights and Irish winning was epic!!

I didn't get to go to America, but heard it was a special occasion. I am looking forward to venturing to Brentford for more champions cup success in the future

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: M51 (IP Logged)
Date: 26 June, 2020 22:53

I loved it all and will miss the madstad. I was at Twickenham for the Power Gen final (stand out was Brendan V and not every ones cup of tea, but a man who never took a backwards step). My missus thought the "Royal" Chris Sheasby was a truly great. For me Seilala Mapasua could never be replaced, he was truly brilliant and unfortunately I would measure all centres on his performance. If i dont renew for 2021 then there will be a sadness in my heart not watching at the new stadium. Now waiting patiently for a parking permit.
Good luck to you all and hopefully no second wave.
Mchael

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: LI Bohemian (IP Logged)
Date: 27 June, 2020 02:05

For me I will always pick out the first game I saw at the Madstad as my favourite, it was the one that got me hooked, it was a St Patrick's day game against Sale, we lost but we scored more tries and threw the ball about, looking dangerous everytime we had possession Delon was my stand out player along with Tagi, Maps and Topsey.
It had never occurred to me at the time to support a professional Rugby team until that very day, I just went to Wasps or Northampton previously to watch a game but never felt part of it, it always feels like an inclusive thing supporting Irish, To me anyhow.

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: Lazyboy346 (IP Logged)
Date: 27 June, 2020 08:32

Two games as yet unmentioned that will stick with me:

1) when an unbeaten Sale side that hadn't conceded a try in their previous four games turned up for an evening game and were taken apart. Still remember Thorpe going over in the corner just in front of me. Sale write up from the time brings back memories: [m.rugbynetwork.net]

2) Again Irish taking down the unbeaten leaders, this time when at the wrong end of the table after being thumped each preceding week: [www.bbc.co.uk]

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: SirBurger (IP Logged)
Date: 27 June, 2020 15:12

Quote:
Lazyboy346
Two games as yet unmentioned that will stick with me:
1) when an unbeaten Sale side that hadn't conceded a try in their previous four games turned up for an evening game and were taken apart. Still remember Thorpe going over in the corner just in front of me. Sale write up from the time brings back memories: [m.rugbynetwork.net]

That Sale match really sticks with me too Lazyboy. Seem to remember it being a midweek match for some reason. Sale were unbeaten and being really talked up and we absolutely demolished them. Tagicakibau was unplayable that day and I remember Hala'Ufia causing them no end of problems with his carrying. It was the first time I remember thinking we could be genuine contenders. It was a shame we didn't see more evening matches as that one and the aforementioned Munster match were two of my all-time favourites. Hopefully there will be more scope for this at Brentford.

Another favourite was the same season as the Sale one and Gloucester arrived in a similar position to Sale - not unbeaten, but sitting pretty at the top of the table. Again, we sent them packing with a bonus-point win of our own. Delon had just been selected for England at 15 and him and his brother were a cut above.

That 08/09 season was brilliant and it is such a shame that there aren't more video highlights of that season available. In fact, the only ones I can find are of the semi and final.

The players I enjoyed watching the most were probably Tagicakibau and Mapusua who just always looked like they could make stuff happen. Steffon was, for a couple of years, one of the best flankers in Europe and won us countless turnovers as well as causing no end of problems for the opposition in attack. As I have often alluded to on here, Hala'Ufia was a world class ball-carrier for us and we were always a better side when he played . I still think that one of the key reasons for the 08/09 success was that he didn't miss a single match for us - his disciplinary problems came in the following seasons. Another who was so assured and often under appreciated was Peter Hewat. I am pretty sure he played at 10 for us in the Sale match mentioned above and he looked so assured. For a side that always looked lacking at 10 I never quite worked out why we didn't stick with that experiment for longer. It would have allowed us to have got him and Delon on the pitch more often.

Anyway, some great memories as well as some very painful ones. Onwards and upwards.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 27/06/2020 15:13 by SirBurger.

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: mackemII (IP Logged)
Date: 27 June, 2020 15:21

The Lazyboy346 post above links to the Sale report which does indeed say that Peter Hewat was at 10. I remember the midweek game as I came along with a Sale supporting friend. I think the midweek fixtures were arranged to cut the season a week early to allow the Lions players meet before leaving.

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: cjm. (IP Logged)
Date: 28 June, 2020 00:42

I wonder if Reading F.C. Women will attract bigger crowds than LI.

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: The Sligo Rover (IP Logged)
Date: 28 June, 2020 08:41

Peter Hewat was class, deceptively fast, loved to see him come in the line from full back.

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: Sunburyite (IP Logged)
Date: 28 June, 2020 16:46

Can't disagree with a word about the great games but have to chuck in another for totally different reasons. The very first league game at the Mad Stad was against Saracens and it was also Thomas Castaignede's first game for them. We won but Castaignede was magical. I think the score was 21-20 which was actually Irish 21, Castaignede 20. But the amazing thing was that he could have won the game for Sarries late on when he fielded the ball at full back and waltzed through most of our team before kicking over our full back. He won the race to the ball but couldn't control it on the line and knocked on. Possibly the best 80 minute performance I've ever seen.

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: Blarney (IP Logged)
Date: 28 June, 2020 18:22

We started off coming to watch Richmond but stayed to watch London Irish. So many great memories over the years:

The Munster evening match...the Perpignan quarter-final, the first St Patrick's day match where we stuffed Saints...the Ulster match when Shane chipped over for Catt...watching Bishop/Sackey/Tagicakibau/Topsy flash down the wings...Sheasby/Murphy/the Hoff getting up a head of steam...Casey and Kennedy stealing the lineouts...the "almost-but-not-quite" comeback against Leicester...Barry's familiar routine in front of the posts, and the tune that played when he put it through...Tofty's flair....Catt's skill....Maps' strength...Paddy's dignified gravitas on the mic, as well as Caimh's humour and good-natured mangling of player names...Cityjet competition on the big screen and the cheer when someone won a trip to Dundee...the drummers...the Fields ringing out...the crowd and the BCS set at the Paddy's Day games...

and so many more.

And all of this in a stadium that was much maligned by opposition fans but actually was pretty good. Decent transport links and a good view from any seat in the house. From the middle of the crowd when Irish were on the attack, it never felt soulless.

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: mackemII (IP Logged)
Date: 28 June, 2020 18:55

Blarney, funny how it was only much maligned by opposition fans when they'd lost. To be fair though, many losing opposition fans who joined us in the Cowshed pre and post match were gracious in defeat and looked forward to their next visit, even if it was just for the Craic.
Living in Carterton, West Oxfordshire, my trips to Lionel Road will be limited, probably needing the odd overnight stay and I'll probably make it to more away games than home games. But I'll never change allegiance; some of my friends here in Carterton have suggested I join them at The Rec or Kingsholm but my response is always, well, the second word is "off."
COYI!

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: Clontarf (IP Logged)
Date: 29 June, 2020 17:50

Bill/MackemII

Someone, a long-time London Irish Season Ticket holder, even suggested that I change my allegiance to The Stoop. He obviously got the same response with added venom.

I'm genuinely undecided about getting a season ticket. Approaching the grand old age of 69 I'm wary of public transport for now, but have no interest in driving to games.

The same person then suggested that, as I live in the centre of Reading, 5 or 6 away games, when the Covid threat has disappeared, to Bristol, Bath, maybe Glos, maybe Exeter and even Quins would be a decent alternative. I can see the merit in that but I get a comfort from sitting in the same seat and getting to know my neighbours over time.

So decisions, decisions.

Like many, I'm sure, we had plans for the final game against Bristol, people were booked to come from Dublin but sadly it wasn't to be.

I guess my favourite game at the Madstad was Munster. Unfortunately due to misbehaviour in The Gateway before the game I have no memory of events on the field. So, another search on youtube coming up to relive the day.

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: mackemII (IP Logged)
Date: 29 June, 2020 19:39

Brendan, I drove down for the Munster game as I didn't fancy getting back to Oxford at silly o' clock and the joys of a 1 hour journey on the Stagecoach S1 service, or "The Vomit Comet" as it was more commonly known! I'd heard that Greyfriars Road outside The Gateway was a sea of red and impassable pre-match and no doubt post-match.
We need to stay in touch regarding trips to Bath, Worcester, Coventry, Northampton etc, although I won't be touching the black stuff, I pulled the plug on Guinness when they pulled the plug on Irish.
Stay safe mate.

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: Blarney (IP Logged)
Date: 30 June, 2020 08:31

Some of the matches mentioned above -

Munster Match 2010:
[youtu.be]

Perpignan Quarter Final 2008:
[youtu.be]

St Paddys Day v Sale 2006:
[youtu.be]

"Comeback" match v Tigers 2009:
[youtu.be]

Horak v Tigers (made by a brilliant moment from otherwise disappointment Pieter Rossouw):
[youtu.be]

Penney v Cardiff 2005:
[youtu.be]

Northampton match 2006 (Paicey's gallop):
[youtu.be]

Another big score against Saints that same year:
[youtu.be]

A more recent one against Tigers:
[youtu.be]

Re: Farewell to Reading
Posted by: Clontarf (IP Logged)
Date: 30 June, 2020 16:33

Quote:
mackemII
Brendan, I drove down for the Munster game as I didn't fancy getting back to Oxford at silly o' clock and the joys of a 1 hour journey on the Stagecoach S1 service, or "The Vomit Comet" as it was more commonly known! I'd heard that Greyfriars Road outside The Gateway was a sea of red and impassable pre-match and no doubt post-match.
We need to stay in touch regarding trips to Bath, Worcester, Coventry, Northampton etc, although I won't be touching the black stuff, I pulled the plug on Guinness when they pulled the plug on Irish.
Stay safe mate.

I admire your dedication and ability to stick to your guns.

I also cancelled my sponsorship of Guinness when they cancelled their sponsorship of LI but I must confess that I fell into sin at the first real temptation aka Ryan's of Parkgate Street in Dublin.

In all fairness it was after the Big Dublin Bike Ride (short course) last September and it was an awesome pint in sight of the Brewery.

Will definitely stay in touch regarding trips to foreign fields.

I think this Messageboard will be important, especially in the initial stages of the move away from Reading

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