May began with a trip to North Street to take in the Hit The North Street Art Festival, getting photos of the pieces of artwork as they were created, and then the finished artwork.

The following weekend, I treated myself to a trip to Scotland, spending most my time in Edinburgh, getting photos of Street Art (of course) and walking up Arthur’s Seat and going for a stroll in Colinton.

It would have been rude not to go to a football match, Livingston v St Johnstone being my match of choice before a day trip to Glasgow saw me get more Street Art photos and visit Cathkin Park, an abandoned football stadium.

Towards the end of the month, it was all about Friday nights, first of all winning a ticket to see Ulster v Sharks.

Then, the last Friday of the month, I went to see Queen (well, half of Queen, but it was still so good) at The Odyssey.

Hit The North

Hit The North Photo Album

Hit The North Aftermath

Edinburgh Street Art

Edinburgh Street Art Photo Album

Livingston v St Johnstone

Livingston v St Johnstone Photo Album

Glasgow Street Art

Glasgow Street Art Photo Album

Cathkin Park

Cathkin Park Photo Album

Arthur’s Seat

Arthur’s Seat Photo Album


Colinton Photo Album

Ulster v Sharks

Ulster v Sharks Photo Album

Queen + Adam Lambert live at The Odyssey

Queen + Adam Lambert live at The Odyssey Photo Album

ULSTER 24-21 SHARKS 20.5.2022

After a near two and a half year absence, I made a return to Ravenhill for a match. Not all of it has been down to Covid.

Back in Pre Covid Times, I would have only gone to a European Group Match a season.

Although, I would generally be lucky with competitions (there are so many, it’s hard not to win at least once a season) and get to see a second match a season.

I didn’t foresee when I left Ravenhill in December 2019 of what would happen next in the world.

When I usually pay into Ravenhill, i’m usually on one of the two terraces. Knowing how squeezed in people are there, I decided to give them a miss because of you know what, but I knew that I would come back again some day.

Getting in for free certainly helps make that decision for you. This ticket coming via a competition on Instgram.

The previous times I have won tickets, they have been in one of the stands, so it was a bit of a shock when I was scanning in that I realised they were terracing.

Behind the goal at the Memorial End, since you ask.

As this wasn’t really a big match (ok, rankings for Play-Offs, but nothing would be decided. It was essentially fixture fulfilment before the main event) there wasn’t as big a crowd as expected.

The Terracing wasn’t exactly spacious, but I could have stretched out at least one arm if I wanted to

At least I was getting to see Ulster this month. I found myself being frustrated that they were playing Edinburgh away the week before I went to Edinburgh.

I know my trip to Edinburgh wasn’t specifically for Rugby (I did sneak in a football match though), but it would have been nice to take one in.

As i took my place behind the goal, the ground was bathed in sunshine. And rain. This is Belfast, after all.

The game began with a lot of decent build-up play from both teams but neither were able to make that breakthrough and get a try.

I was beginning to wonder if we were going to get any points on the board, as it remained 0-0 after 15 minutes. Even a drop goal seemed too much to ask.

Thankfully, there wasn’t long to wait for some points on the board, and it came for Ulster in the form of a John Cooney penalty to make it 3-0.

By now, the rain had stopped and the Sharks were struggling in the dry weather and not really offering much of a bite.

A converted try saw Ulster go in at half-time 10-0 up in a half that was mostly even.

Another converted try early in the second-half, by now Ulster were attacking the end where I was stood, made it 17-0, and this was looking like a coast to victory.

A converted try for Sharks ruined Ulster’s clean sheet, but an instant response gave them a convincing 24-7 lead.

That lead would be whittled down to 24-21 after two converted tries, and things started to get a little nervous.

Thankfully for Ulster, the clock had passed 80 minutes, and all they had to do was get the ball and boot it out.

Getting the ball was the problem, as Sharks looked to get that one opportunity for a try to win, or even a drop goal for a draw.

They couldn’t. Ulster were able to get the ball, boot it out and get the win that was a lot more nervous than it should have been.

It meant Ulster signed off for the regular season with a win, but the season isn’t over.

Even though Ulster finished 3rd, they can still win the title, as the Top 8 go into a Play-Off.

Ulster will face Munster in a Quarter-Final in early June.

They won that match, but eventually lost their Semi-Final to Stormers.

Photo Album

ULSTER 35-3 CONNACHT 27.12.2019

Seeing as it was Christmas, I thought i’d go to my one Rugby match a year.

Usually, when I go to Ravenhill to see Ulster, it is a European match. However, this year, the dates were inconvenient, both clashing with Linfield matches.

One match was on a Saturday afternoon, but it was rotten luck that the game that was on a Friday, Linfield had their League match moved to the Friday for TV.

So, that would mean i’d be going to a League match instead, this game falling when I was off over Christmas, it was a bit of a no brainer.

It wouldn’t be the first time that a match against Connacht would be marked in my diary, having been at Ravenhill two days before Santa arrived in 2016, as opposed to two days after he arrived in 2019.

That match in 2016 took place in the aftermath of Storm Barbara. Thankfully, the weather was a lot calmer for this game.

However, it was not as good as it was for my other visit to see Ulster face Connacht, though that would have been quite remarkable, as that was a glorious teatime in May, having won free tickets for the Play-Off Quarter-Final.

No free ticket wins for me this season yet, but I have been trying.

That match saw Ulster trying (they eventually lost out) to reach the Final at Celtic Park. This year, the venue they are aiming for is Cardiff City Stadium.

In a change with tradition, that match will be taking place in late June instead of late May. Very tempting. If I wasn’t going to Dublin to hopefully see a Euro 2020 game, I may have been tempted by that.

It’s a ground I’ve been to twice, in 2014 and 2016, but I’ve never seen Cardiff City play there. Might as well make it three trips without seeing the Bluebirds, although I have seen them play at Old Trafford.

If you are going to Cardiff, I recommend it to visit. If you have enough time, sneak in a visit to Bristol and/or Bath.

The problem with the usually traditional date of the last Saturday in May is that it clashes with the Football Programme Fair, and well, I can’t miss that, which is why the only Final I’ve been to was 2015, when Ravenhill hosted it.

Cardiff in June is a long way off, and so is Marseille in May. Ulster kicked off second in the table, trying to chase runaway leaders Leinster, who they lost to the previous week by a ridiculous score of 54-42.

It’s not a new observation, but Rugby Fan Culture is just weird. Sorry, but it is true.

I can live with being quiet at penalties even if I don’t think it will ever catch on in football.

Sometimes you hear football fans moaning about not being able to get a beer when watching the game. Be bloody thankful.

Seriously, literally the whole match was spent letting people in and out. It’s only 40 minutes a half, how hard is it to make a drink last that long?

Commercial realities mean they won’t close the bar 10 minutes before kick-off and during the game, but if you can get organised to buy a ticket and get dressed and get to the ground, then you can be organised to purchase what you need in advance of kick-off.

Another thing I found off was people watching the game on the TV screen beside them when the ball was at the other end of the pitch.

Each to their own, but I don’t understand the point of paying for a ticket just to spend most of the match queuing for a drink and then watching the action on a TV screen.

Maybe I’ve just been spoilt the last couple of matches I’ve been to by having a comfy seat in the stand?

The game got off to a dramatic start when Ulster burst through to score a try inside three minutes, only to see it disallowed.

It was Connacht who took the lead, 3-0, from a Fitzgerald penalty.

It would be the only time that Connacht were in the game, as Ulster responded with two tries, from Alan O’Connor and Billy Burns, both converted, to lead 14-3 at half-time.

The interval was only a brief respite for Connacht, they couldn’t get into the game after the break, as three more tries for Ulster, from Robbie Balocoune, Rob Herring and Nick Timoney, all converted, gave Ulster a 35-3 lead.

It was all too easy.

Photo Album

Ulster v Connacht May 2019

Ulster v Connacht December 2016


May 2019 began with a busy Bank Holiday Weekend, starting off by going to see Echo and the Bunnymen at Custom House Square, Ulster v Connacht at Ravenhill, and then checking out Street Art as part of Hit The North.

The following weekend, I headed to Manchester to see United take on Cardiff City. The less said about that match the better.

On the plus side, I did manage to get some Street Art photos from the city.

That was it. The first two weekends of the month were busy, the second two not so much.

Echo and the Bunnymen live at Custom House Square

Echo and the Bunnymen live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Ulster v Connacht

Ulster v Connacht Photo Album

Hit The North

Hit The North Photo Album – Sunday 5th May 2019

Hit The North Photo Album – Monday 7th May 2019

Hit The North Photo Album – Aftermath

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v Cardiff City

Manchester United v Cardiff City Photo Album

Salford Quays Street Art

Salford Quays Street Art Photo Album

ULSTER 21-13 CONNACHT 4.5.2019

Well, this was a nice bonus.

Resigned to an empty Saturday, I found out on Friday evening that I won tickets to Ulster v Connacht, so it was off to Ravenhill I headed on Saturday teatime.

Regardless of the result, this would be Ulster’s last home match of the season, a Quarter-Final of the Pro 14, with Glasgow the destination Ulster were aiming for, in more than one way.

I had previously seen Ulster take on Connacht, in December 2016. The weather was a bit different, dry, decent evening light and a gentle breeze – a lot different from the aftermath of Storm Barbara in 2016.

There was a decent sized Connacht support, or maybe it seemed more visible decked in their green replica shirts amongst the white of Ulster.

Despite the fact that it was knock-out Rugby, and that Ulster were three wins away from the title, there was a surprising amount of empty seats in the ground. Not a lot, but there were pockets of empty seats that were clearly visible.

The seats I had were fantastic, in the stand with a clear view, right on the halfway line.

It was Ulster who got the first score on the board with a penalty from John Cooney, before Nick Timoney got over for a try to make it 8-0 to Ulster. It looked like they were going to run away with it. Unfortunately Cooney missed the conversion, meaning Ulster didn’t have a double point lead.

The two sides exchanged penalties to give Ulster a half-time lead of 11-3. Not exactly job done, but you’d take it.

Jack Carty missed a penalty for Connacht in the opening minutes after somebody in the crowd shouted “CHICKEN!!” as he was taking it. I guess you could say he really clucked up that opportunity.

As a side note, the whole being quiet at penalties unwritten rule in Rugby in just the weirdest thing ever. Maybe it’s because I spent so much time watching football.

Could you imagine Joe Gormley or Curtis Allen taking a penalty in front of The Kop, and someone says “Lads, can we just be quiet for a minute? It’s a bit rude and disrespectful to the penalty taker”

Bundee Aki then saw his try converted by Jack Carty to make it 11-10. That miss earlier by Carty was now costly. The game was now in the balance.

The sides once again exchanged penalties as Ulster’s four point lead was once again reduced to one.

As each minute ticked down, it was beginning to feel like the last time I won tickets to an Ulster match, against Edinburgh in February 2018.

That match was in the balance, and Ulster couldn’t get the ball in the final minutes, as Edinburgh waited for their moment to get a clear shot at a drop goal, which they did, to win the game right at the end.

There would be no repeat, as Marcell Coetzee ran through late on for a try to make it 19-13. Connacht now needed to score 7 points in 2 minutes.

A conversion made it 21-13. They now needed 9 points in 2 minutes. They didn’t get it as Ulster got the win, and fans could now make plans for the Semi-Final.

That will be away to Glasgow in two weeks time, with the Final taking place in the city a week later.

The venue for the final, isn’t a Rugby ground, but Celtic Park.

I would say that it isn’t usual for a match at Celtic Park to see the ball in the air for a long time and punch-ups all over the pitch, but that is what usually happens when Celtic play Rangers.

Neil Lennon and Brendan Rodgers recent successes at Celtic mean that they are used to seeing Ulstermen celebrating at Celtic Park.

Hopefully, in three weeks, there will be some more celebrating, but in the oval ball.

Photo Album

Ulster v Connacht 2016


I had to wait until the 8th of the month for a photo adventure, heading to The Oval to see Linfield take on Glentoran.

That was then followed up by a trip to Windsor Park the following Saturday to see Linfield take on Newry City.

Another weekend, another football match, as I then headed to the Seaside to see Linfield take on Ards.

The following weekend, began with Rugby, as I headed to Ravenhill to see Ulster take on Dragons.

It was back to football the following day as I headed to Stangmore Park to see Linfield take on Dungannon Swifts.

The month ended with a trip to The Odyssey to see U2 in concert.

Glentoran v Linfield

Linfield v Newry City

Ards v Linfield

Ulster v Dragons

Ulster v Dragons Photo Album

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

U2 live at The Odyssey

U2 live at The Odyssey Photo Album


February 2018 began with a trip to The Limelight, a first proper concert of the year, to see Shed Seven supported by John Power.

That was followed the following midweek by a trip to Warrenpoint to see Linfield take on Warrenpoint Town.

The following Saturday, was Linfield’s 0-0 draw with Dungannon Swifts.

The following week was very busy, with Paul Weller at Ulster Hall followed by Ulster v Edinburgh and then Cliftonville v Linfield.

The weekend after that was a trip to the seaside, to see Linfield take on Ards.

That was then followed by a midweek trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield lose to Glenavon.

Around that time, it was getting cold. So cold, there was the possibility of snow. That didn’t come until March 1st, so you’ll have to wait until next month’s round-up to see that.

John Power live at The Limelight

John Power live at The Limelight Photo Album

Shed Seven live at The Limelight

Shed Seven live at The Limelight Photo Album

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Paul Weller live at Ulster Hall

Paul Weller live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Ulster v Edinburgh

Ulster v Edinburgh Photo Album

Cliftonville v Linfield

Ards v Linfield

Linfield v Glenavon

ULSTER 36-18 DRAGONS 26.10.2018

I should have been seeing Simon Day performing his characters but that was cancelled, so I now had a free Friday night.

That said, the cancellation was last month, so it wasn’t a dramatic change of plan, but with Ulster at home, I decided to make this my one Ulster match of the season.

I usually do one Ulster match a season usually a European game. However, the two pre-Christmas European home matches are inconveniently scheduled, both clashing with Linfield matches.

The home match against Munster on Friday 21st December was very tempting, but I want to keep that date free in case Linfield’s match against Glenavon is brought forward to the Friday night for TV coverage.

I popped down and purchased a ticket from the Ticket Office outside, which was unusually disorganised for me. Tickets were available on the day and it wasn’t as big a crowd as recent years.

Not only was I able to pick up a ticket on the day, it was very spacious in the Terrace where I was, as well as being able to see lots of empty seats in the other stand behind the goal and in the main stand.

Ulster’s season has been stop-start so far, wins usually followed by defeats, and the defeats were usually memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Ulster got off to a flying start and were 10-0 up (one of each, a try, a conversion and a penalty) after 12 minutes and looked like they were going to run away with it.

Dragons tried to launch a fightback by getting three points before a David Shanahan try (which was converted) made it 17-3 and gave Ulster some breathing space.

Any hopes Ulster had of an easy evening were put on hold when Dragons put ten points on the board to make it 17-13.

The dynamic changed in the last minute of the half when a Michael Lowry try, again converted, made it 24-13, giving Ulster some breathing space and changed the mood of the crowd at half-time.

I was stood behind the goal that Ulster were attacking, so in the second-half, I was hoping that I wouldn’t be seeing any action close up.

Both teams notched a converted try each to leave it 29-18 to Ulster with ten minutes to go, the game still not won, but no reason for Ulster to be nervous. Unless they conceded, that is.

It was Ulster who got the next try, which was concerted, to make it 36-18, exactly twice the opposition score, and with one minute to go, that was the game for Ulster.

A good evening’s entertainment and a good win for Ulster. Not a bad choice for my one game of the season.

Photo Album

ULSTER 16-17 EDINBURGH 16.2.2018

This was a nice wee freebie for me, I won a competition online to win free tickets for this game. I usually only go to one game a season, usually in Europe, so this was a nice bonus for me having been to the match against Wasps in October.

This was the second successive home game for Ulster, having scored a routine 59-10 win over Southern Kings last week. Edinburgh also won last weekend, but it was a lot harder, securing a Bonus Point 29-24 win over Leinster in the last minute.

Little did we know it would be a warning.

My tickets were in the Grandstand. It was my first time in there since it was rebuilt. I’d always said to myself that i’d want to see what it was like there for a change.

I was seated towards The Aquinas End and I had a slightly obstructed view when the ball was at the other end of the field. If I was to go seated at Ravenhill again, i’d like to try behind one of the goals. Hey, the tickets were free, I shouldn’t be complaining.

Ulster made a positive start to the game and had Edinburgh pinned into their own half in the opening minutes. It was no surprise when Ulster took the lead through a John Cooney try, which was then converted to give Ulster a 7-0 lead.

You know when you’re watching a football match, and the home team scores in the opening minutes and you expect them to storm to victory but they don’t?

Yep, this was the Rugby equivalent.

Ulster couldn’t build on it, and never really looked like adding to their try count. It was very dull for long periods.

Edinburgh were the better team, and it was no surprise when Edinburgh got a try from Jason Harries, which was converted to make it 7-7, which stayed the score at half-time.

Early in the second-half, Ulster went 10-7 up through a John Cooney penalty. So early in fact, that I missed it as I was making my way back to my seat.

Another Cooney penalty made it 13-7, and it looked like Ulster now had the foundation for victory.

With only a six point lead, Ulster knew that a converted try would put Edinburgh into the lead.

Their fears were confirmed when a Lewis Carmichael try was converted to put Edinburgh 14-13 in front.

Soon after, Ulster were back in front, Cooney again, another penalty. 16-14. There was no margin for error now.

Ulster couldn’t get any further scores that could give them more breathing space. Even a drop goal or a penalty would have meant Edinburgh would need a converted try to win the game.

Unable to kill off Edinburgh, Ulster were now hanging on. The aim now was to hold on to the ball until the clock hit 80 minutes.

The crowd at Ravenhill had been quiet and subdued for most of the game. In the final minutes, they burst into life, trying to cheer their side to see them through the final minutes.

Edinburgh were able to get upfield for one last attack.

Ulster just couldn’t get the ball away, they just couldn’t get the ball to kick it out of play.

As Edinburgh, were attacking The Aquinas End, I had a perfect view of it all. You could see what was going to happen.

Edinburgh were able to get possession in a shooting position, as Duncan Weir was able to hit a drop goal to win the game 17-16 in injury time.

That was it, game over. Ravenhill fell silent.

Photo Album


In the first week of October 2017, I headed to Windsor Park to see Northern Ireland take on Germany in a World Cup Qualifier.

That was sandwiched inbetween me going out around Belfast to check out Street Art which was painted as part of Hit The North, these pieces were still works in progress when I went to photograph them in September

The following day, I went to my one Rugby match a year, as Ulster beat Wasps in the European Cup.

It was back to football the following day, seeing Linfield take on Coleraine.

There was a glut of concerts towards the end of the month, going to see Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, OMD and Liam Gallagher, with Linfield’s matches against Ards and Crusaders sandwiched inbetween.

Northern Ireland v Germany

Northern Ireland v Germany Photo Album

Hit The North Mop-Up

Hit The North Mop-Up Photo Album

Ulster v Wasps

Ulster v Wasps Photo Album

Coleraine v Linfield

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott live at The Limelight

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott live at The Limelight Photo Album

Linfield v Crusaders

OMD live at Mandela Hall

OMD live at Mandela Hall Photo Album

Linfield v Ards

Liam Gallagher live at The Odyssey

Liam Gallagher live at The Odyssey Photo Album