Ireland SuperLeague: Hoops at UCD Marian
With a free day in Dublin, I wanted to attend a random Irish sporting event. Before flying to Dublin, I had researched a few events to attend.
1) Irish Indoor Athletics Championships in Belfast, Northern Ireland. My friend, Peter, was driving back to Belfast Sunday morning so I would have a ride there and would have to take the train back. However, the event started at 11 am and with a 2+ hour drive to Belfast, I highly doubted we would leave Dublin by 9 am to get to the event on time.
2) National Hurling League of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). No matches were taking place in Dublin. They were taking place in Galway, Limerick, Cork and Waterford. Each city was a 2.5 to 3 hour train ride from Dublin.
3) Ireland SuperLeague Basketball in Dublin. Obviously not the most glamorous event, but given the location seemed to be the best option.
On Saturday night, I ruled out the drive to Belfast and thanked Peter for the Six Nations ticket. On Sunday morning, I ruled out taking a 2.5 hour train ride for three reasons. First, I did not want to travel that far. Second, since my flight was cancelled Thursday night, I did not have the full day in Dublin as I had planned to on Friday. I did want to relax in Dublin at least one day. Third, with the Rugby match I had planned to attend Friday night cancelled, I feared that Hurling may be cancelled as well due to frozen pitches that were plaguing the country. I did not want to travel 2.5 hours each way to find out the match I was planning to attend had been cancelled.
Thus, Irish Basketball turned out to be my event of choice. However, the adventure in getting to and finding the event made me question whether or not I should have just sat in an Irish Pub all day. The game was supposed to be played at the UCD Sports Centre at the University College Dublin in Belfield. I took the #11 bus from Dublin’s City Centre to Belfield. The walk from the #11 bus stop to the arena was only 5 minutes. When I arrived at the arena there were 8×11 pieces of paper taped to the doors of the arena stating that the arena was closed due to the weather. “What?” I began thinking. It was a sunny day and I felt people could have played games outside let alone indoors. But because there was some snow and ice on the ground they closed the indoor gym.
To my dismay, I asked a few people who actually wanted to work out at the gym whether there was supposed to be an “Irish SuperLeague” game played at the arena and they had no idea. Plus, there was no sign up on the arena stating whether the game was cancelled, postponed or moved to another arena which I would have expected to be the case. Thanks to Ireland basketball management, I had no idea where the game would be played – so much for my great plan to attend Irish Basketball.
I walked back to my bus stop wondering how long it would take the bus to come. I had waited about 20 minutes the first time. The bus came within 5 minutes and to my surprise it was the same bus driver who drove me down. He let me on the bus for free, rather than pay the 1.60 euro since I had only been off the bus for 25-30 minutes.
When I got back to Dublin’s City Centre (it was still 2:30 pm so I had time to see if the match was still on and get there late), I went to an internet café and logged onto www.ucdmarian.com. In the top right corner, they list “UCD Marian News.” However, every piece of news they display states “Sunday, 07 December 2008.” Thus, I figured they were not updating the site until one of the headlines stated a match had been moved. I clicked on the link to find out the match was now being played at Carroll Arena at the Greendale Community School in Kilbarrack at the same start time of 3 pm. At the bottom of the two brief sentences appeared “Last Updated ( Sunday 08 February 2009 12:16 ). If only I had looked at the website closer before I left for Belfield, I would have known the game had been moved. The irony is that before I took the bus to Belfield, I had checked www.basketballireland.ie to ensure the match was still being played in Belfield and it stated it was.
After a quick Google search, I realized I could take the DART train from Dublin Connolly to Kilbarrack and either walk or take a taxi to Carroll Arena. I arrived at the arena shortly before halftime began. Thus, I just walked into the arena and to my surprise there were more fans in attendance than I thought there would be.
The second half began with UCD Marian leading Shamrock Rovers Hoops 36-34. UCD Marian ended up keeping that lead to defeat Hoops 75-73.
Post Game Dining
After the game I took DART back to Dublin and went to the Temple Bar area – the main nightlife area for tourists. I had a couple of pints of Guinness at The Temple Bar since they had live Irish music, ate dinner at Millstone Restaurant a few blocks from Temple Bar and finished the night back at John Lynch / The Swan Bar. This time around the owner of the Swan Bar talked to me for awhile since we had chatted briefly Saturday afternoon. I went back to Avalon House and packed my things for my Monday afternoon flight back to Chicago.