Last weekend Hulls Angels were playing the Dublin B team over in Ireland. I tagged along to do my photos thing.

The adventure started on Friday. In order to keep travel costs to a minimum I had booked cheap flights. Going out from Manchester at 11pm on Friday and returning at 6.20am on Sunday. The total cost of the flights was just over £20, the same that I paid for train tickets to get me to the airport! Once in Dublin I’d be staying in a hostel.

I spent Friday in school doing governor stuff then had the evening to get myself packed and check over my camera gear. I was travelling very light, just a small camera bag and a shoulder bag.

The journey to the airport started a little before 8pm, giving me plenty of time to check in. I was pleased to bump in to Dave and Morgan and Nuke 9t (who played for Scotland) in the bar. It’s always reassuring when your travelling to be with friends. The flight to Dublin was fine, but someone mistook Morgan’s bag for theirs and took it from the carousel! Dave said that I should just get on while they stayed and sorted out the missing case. The bus service to the town centre is good and I made it to the hostel for 2am.

I’m not familiar with hostels, but the bloke on reception was very helpful. I asked about security, for my camera. “There’s a cage under the bed. Do you have a padlock?” No, I didn’t, and he didn’t have any spare. There was a safe deposit box, but that sounded a bit OTT. I was sharing the room with three others. He said that usually there weren’t any problems with the small rooms. He checked his computer. “It’s three Germans in there with you”. ” Ha, that’s fine then” I said. I consider them very trustworthy. I snook in to bed and tried to get some sleep.

The 6.40 alarm wasn’t particularly welcome, but the minibus to the leisure centre was booked for 8.30 from a different part of town. Dublin is a beautiful city, bustling with life and some very impressive buildings. The sun was just up as a I walked along the Leiffy to meet the others.

The drive south the Greystones didn’t take too long, with a slight detour to pick up a few of the team on the way. It’s a lovely leisure centre, nice seating and a small café area just outside the sports hall. The track had already been laid, so time to check the light and say hello to the ref crew.

Cake and merch stalls started to spring up, spectators arrived and other photographers.
All of the photographers I’ve ever met have been friendly. Unfortunately it wasn’t so this time. There are often two boxes marked inside the track for photographers to stand in. This keeps them out of the way of the referees, NSOs and flying skaters. This guy was stood in one of the boxes with a pro camera/lens, so I went to have a chat with him. From the outset he was rude, asking what ISO I was using then telling me that was no good. And my lens was no good either. And he had a “press pass” so he’d be staying in the box cause he “had to get photos”. No amount of jolly banter worked on him. Then he asked how long a “match lasted”. He was shocked when I answered 60 minutes. Frustrated I went and asked Abi if she had a contact at Dublin RD so we clarify the situation. She did and we spoke to them. They sorted it out straight away, much to my relief. I shared the inside of the track with various togs during the day and it worked very well. Mr Obnoxious got bored I think and left after the co-ed scrim, missing the Ireland-Scotland game and the DRD-Newcastle game.

DRDB-HARD-14AIn the Dublin B/Angels game Dublin took an early lead and looked like they would run away with it. But HARD fought back and and towards the end held the lead. Dublin nipped it back, the game ending at 165 to 164. Very exciting. (The card right shows the score against jam with HARD in green.)

The co-ed scrim followed and was another close game. Bravehearts took it 126 to Celtic Warriors 121.

The third game was Ireland Men’s Roller Derby taking on Power of Scotland. Manic. One of the NSOs was worried about skaters crashing into the middle of the track so I was very politely asked to move outside. Ireland took the win, though I don’t recall the score. (Better than 155 against 94, which was the score with almost 9 minutes to go.)

We had to leave half way through the last game, Dublin vs Newcastle, but they did draw the raffle (early for us I think) before we left. We did rather well, I’d never won anything in a raffle but picked up a bottle of red wine this time. Dane-ish won a bottle of champagne, Rollosapien won two prizes. The mini bus driver, Valentine, was a star. He had a corkscrew and plastic glasses. We opened the wines and shared them out on the journey back. It was just like our trip back from Dundee earlier in the year :-)

The after party was at Thomas House, a bit of a win for me as it is just around the corner from the hostel. I started with a pint of Guiness, well, you have to in Dublin, and got talking to a handful of skaters, Abnorman amongst them. I also got to have a jolly good chat with Whippy and her friends. Lovely people. I hit the sack at around midnight I think, with my alarm set for 4am.

The journey back was with many of HARD, though it was a quiet affair, I imagine we were all tired. I was back home before 10am, which seemed very strange. Time for a sleep before Skateful Dead practice.

What an amazing weekend!