Wednesday 13 December 2017

Melanie Morris: Ladies, get all those dull jobs done during 'rugby hush'

SO, I think we can safely say that the rugby season, and in particular the Six Nations challenge, has kicked off. After a Saturday of some of the most amazing play by the Irish team, our hearts have swollen to the size of hot air balloons and we have cause to celebrate.

But whatever we got up to over the weekend, it was just a warm-up of what's to come. In a matter of days, we'll be doing it all again, only this time on home turf.

And hereby hangs the dilemma. On the afternoon of an at-home rugby international, there is a golden, halcyon few hours where a hush falls upon Dublin, and the city's shops, cinemas, car parks and supermarkets empty out. It's the perfect time for anyone who's brave enough to commit an act of heresy to get every dull job done within those 80 precious minutes.

Because think about it, the rest of Dublin's inhabitants are either at home in front of the telly, in a bar in front of a big screen, or in Lansdowne Road, roaring their heads off. The question is, are you brave enough, and unpatriotic enough to take advantage of this window of opportunity? I've done those jobs that take forever and not had a queue, battle an overcrowded changing room or a pile up around Dundrum.



This coming weekend will be different though. There's already a frisson in the air that's hard to miss. Not since Penneys sold reindeer antlers and red noses have I wanted to decorate my car so badly, and this might be the moment I get myself a green jersey.

I don't have tickets to Sunday's match, but I might have something almost as desirable ... a place at the Ireland Fund's annual Rugby Weekend Luncheon to honour veteran player, coach and chair of the IRB, Dr Syd Millar. This is a shindig that has become quite a Friday fixture on the Six Nations calendar, and every player from the golden team of 1959 to the present day seems to be in attendance.

I know that by the end of this late lunch, I'll be so full of national pride, no doubt enhanced by the Shelbourne's cocktails, that watching Brian O'Driscoll and the lads on Sunday will be a must.

However, while my husband and his mates will be heading for the hallowed rugby HQ that is Kiely's of Donnybrook, I think we women prefer more comfortable confines – is it totally wrong to want a seat? And table service? And a clear view of the televised proceedings? I know all of that sounds like something akin to waterboarding to die-hard sports fans, but thankfully I don't count myself in that number, so feel perfectly fine meeting the girls in the Dylan or Merrion Hotel's upholstered surroundings.

But I can guarantee you, if rugby isn't your thing, or if you can follow the action on your phone, Grafton Street, Liffey Valley and Dundrum Town Centre will be privately yours from the hours of 2.45-4.15pm next Sunday. Use the time wisely, ladies.

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