Well done Connacht and gardai for making a fan's night
I am writing this letter to thank Connacht rugby and the Galway Gardaí for the two complimentary tickets I received for the recent Connacht v Munster rugby. Two Saturday evenings ago I picked up my brother Brian who resides in the John Paul Centre in the outskirts of Galway city. Brian is 29 years of age and suffers from Autism.
On a rare sunny March evening in Galway and with a smile on Brian's face, I decided spontaneously to go to the Connacht v Munster game in the Galway Sportground, although we both had no tickets! Brian was never in the Sportsground for a rugby game in his life. Outside the stadium, we stood ticketless and watched the record crowd enter the busy stadium. I decided with a little brazen self-confidence to ask the Gardaí for any available spare tickets for the encounter. Unfortunately they had none but the gardaí asked us quietly to wait around until the game was set to commence.We both waited outside and remained positive at the prospect of maybe sourcing two last minute tickets. Suddenly a Connacht official and the garda appeared with two unused tickets. We gladly accepted the complimentary tickets and made our way into the game.
Two years ago it would not have been possible to entertain the thought of Brian standing content at a Connacht Rugby game as Brian himself was in a different place back then. Luckily thanks to the hard work of the John Paul Centre staff and his dedicated teachers, Brian was able to witness his first Connacht game. This is something as a brother I will cherish forever. At half time I decided to buy him a Connacht rugby cap and cup of tea, the latter being the most important of all to him.
I want to thank Connacht Rugby and gardaí for recognising our predicament on the night and for pulling out all the stops and making Brian’s night. In this day and age when rugby as a game in Connacht is at an all-time high, it is refreshing to see a Connacht official and a garda reaching out to a vulnerable member of the public who had never been to the Connacht venue. This kindly act by both of them will never be forgotten. It is great to see that Connacht rugby still can look after its fans when currently it is selling out games for provincial and Heineken Cup fixtures. Long may this ethos last.
Unfortunately Connacht didn't win on the night. Not everything could go our way but at least a new Connacht fan walked out of the stadium with the same smile on his face as he entered with.
Kieran Joyce (Brother of Brian Joyce)
6 Sylvan Ave,