Cardiff knocked for six as Shane and Green Army roll into town
Cardiff was rolling and rumbling as the Green Army touched down in Wales last night.
Among the crowd was rugby legend Shane Byrne. "It is going to be a long day for the players and the supporters," said the former Leinster player.
"Some of them will be crawling to their seats in the stadium later on. But at least they might get back to their wives earlier on Saturday..."
Most of the travelling Green Army looked set to enjoy the Welsh hospitality for the next 48 hours. Olivia and Will Taylor, from Portrush, were in a confident mood. "Ireland to win by about 10 points....Sexton to nail it for us," they enthused.
Stephanie O'Callaghan, from Mallow, Co Cork, and her friend Kerri Lyons, from Kiltale, Co Meath, had gone for the "hardcore" option of a day-trip to Cardiff.
Even though their flight would not get them home until well after midnight, they were also in favour of the late kick-off.
It was Stephanie's first trip to Cardiff and she was looking forward to the atmosphere under the closed roof.
"We're very confident, we have the luck of the Irish with us," said Kerri.
Welsh and Irish fans mingled happily together, including many friends who had travelled to the game together despite divided loyalties.
Yvonne Brophy, from Portlaoise, and Paula Williams, from Llandrindod Wells in Wales, were soaking up the scene in front of the city-centre castle.
"Friday night games are a bit strange but it gives you longer to recover from the hangover," said Paula.
In the city centre as dusk fell, a lone leprechaun hammered at a miniature drum as his pot of gold (or loose change) grew.
"I'm actually from Cardiff," said the red-haired, bearded fella.
"But I look Irish, don't I?"