2017 IN PICTURES – OCTOBER

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

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ULSTER 19-9 WASPS 13.10.2017

On Friday night, it was time for my annual one Rugby match a year, as I headed to Ravenhill to see Ulster take on Wasps.

I usually do one European group match a year, and this was the one that was most convenient for me. Last year, I didn’t actually go to any group matches as they were all on Saturday afternoons. Sorry, but football takes priority.

It was Friday 13th, and Belfast was treated to rain. That wasn’t bad luck, that was just usual Belfast weather.

There wasn’t quite the buzz (sorry) as Wasps flew into to town, with pockets of empty seats around the ground. It was a tough game for Ulster, but not Mission Impossible (again, sorry) despite the presence of Tom Cruse in the opposition line-up, as they aimed to be the Top Gun in the group.

The two sides had previously met in recent months, with Wasps winning a Pre-Season Friendly at Ravenhill in August.

Wasps took an early lead before Ulster responded as both sides exchange penalties, although there was a missed Ulster penalty sandwiched inbetween. Wasteful kicking by Ulster would be a theme throughout the game.

There wasn’t much excitement in the rest of the first-half. However, as it looked like both teams were going in at half-time level, Wasps got a penalty to make it 6-3.

An early penalty from Wasps looked set to take the game away from Ulster as their lead increase to 9-3, that was until a double burst of tries from Jacob Stockdale and Stuart McCloskey turned the game around and put Ulster in front for the first time.

However, the conversion was missed for both tries, meaning Ulster had a 13-9 lead when it could have been 17-9. Wasps were still in touch.

If Ulster fans were worried that those lost points would turn out to be costly, they shouldn’t have been, as Christian Lealiifano converted two penalties to give Ulster a 19-9 lead.

Wasps had one big attack which caused panic amongst the Ravenhill crowd, as they feared a try, but Ulster were able to defend it and ensure Wasps wouldn;t be adding any more points to the scoreboard.

As the minutes ticked away, it was becoming more obvious that this was going to be Ulster’s night, as the dream of glory in Bilbao next May remains intact.

Photo Album

2015 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER

November took a while to get going, my first adventure being on the 7th, to see Linfield take on Crusaders. I would be spending a lot of time at Windsor Park in the opening fortnight of the month.

Windsor Park is where I would be based in the opening two weekends of the month, taking in Northern Ireland’s friendly against Latvia, then Linfield’s match against Cliftonville the next day.

The following midweek was all about music, as Paul Weller and U2 came to Belfast.

The busy month continued when I took in my annual Ulster European game, a defeat to Saracens.

The final two Saturdays of the month saw me on the road, to see Linfield lose in Mid-Ulster against Glenavon and Portadown.

Sandwiched inbetween that, was a trip to Manchester to see United take on PSV Eindhoven, where I also took the opportunity to get some Street Art photos.

Linfield v Crusaders

Northern Ireland v Latvia

Northern Ireland v Latvia Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Paul Weller live at Waterfront Hall

Paul Weller live at Waterfront Hall Photo Album

U2 live at The Odyssey

U2 live at The Odyssey Photo Album

Ulster v Saracens

Ulster v Saracens Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

Manchester Street Art November 2015

Manchester Street Art November 2015 Photo Album

Manchester United v PSV Eindhoven

Manchester United v PSV Eindhoven Photo Album

Portadown v Linfield

ULSTER 9-27 SARACENS 20.11.2015

Friday night saw me make my annual trip to Ravenhill for a European group game, as Ulster kicked-off their campaign against Saracens, a week later than expected, with their opening game away to Oyonnax being postponed last week due to the terror attacks in France.

Ulster fans arrived hoping their side would warm them up inside, with rain, rain and more rain greeting supporters as they entered the ground.

Within the opening five minutes, the game had it’s first talking point, when Michael Rhodes was yellow carded for a wild tackle. There were many who thought it should have been a straight red.

Ruan Pienaar was unable to convert the resulting penalty. Within minutes, Owen Farrell followed suit by missing a penalty.

Ulster would soon find themselves going into a 9-0 lead courtesy of Paddy Jackson, who scored two drop goals and a penalty. Everything seemed well with the world, as Ulster were two tries ahead.

Saracens got one of those tries when Chris Wyles ran through. Owen Farrell’s rotten evening continued when he missed the conversion.

Ulster’s convincing lead had evaporated, the game was up for grabs, as Ulster led 9-5 at the break.

The start to the second-half was tense, as Ulster were forced to defend. A lot.

I was at the end Ulster were attacking. I say “were”, the correct term should probably be “Supposed to be”, as they simply couldn’t get out of their own half.

They were stuck in their half so much, people around me were watching the game on the giant screen beside them instead of watching the game live in order to get a better view.

A try for Saracens was inevitible, and so it proved when David Goode ran through. Owen Farrell had an upturn in fortune when he scored the conversion.

Saracens started to run away with it, and another try making it 17-9. Ulster now needed a converted try to take the lead. They didn’t look like getting one of those, never mind both. The crowd knew it, and the atmosphere became subdued as a result.

Owen Farrell made up for his poor kicking earlier on by making it 20-9, the gap was now getting bigger and bigger for Saracens, before another try was converted to make it 27-9.

22 points without reply in the second-half for Saracens, it was comprehensive. Ulster fans felt as miserable as the weather, as their side have a lot of ground to make up if they want to join the round ball Ulstermen in planning trips to France next Summer.

Photo Album

2014 IN PICTURES – DECEMBER (SO FAR)

December 2014 was mostly about concerts and football matches.

The first of which, was Foxes at The Limelight. Then the next day, I was off to Ballymena to see Ballymena v Linfield, then straight to Ravenhill for Ulster v Scarlets.

Next up, was Kasabian at The Odyssey, supported by The Maccabees.

Back to football, then it was Windsor Park for me for Linfield v Ballinamallard United, before later that night, heading to The Limelight to see Embrace in concert.

Two days later, my last concert of the year, Madness at The Odyssey, before last weekend, seeing Linfield win a thrilling match against Portadown.

There’s still a week left of the year, so still time for more photos.

Here’s to more photos in 2015.

Foxes Live At The Limelight

Foxes Live At The Limelight Photo Album

Ballymena United v Linfield

Ulster v Scarlets

Ulster v Scarlets Photo Album

The Maccabees Live At The Odyssey

The Maccabees Live At The Odyssey Photo Album

Kasabian Live At The Odyssey

Kasabian Live At The Odyssey Photo Album

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Embrace Live At The Limelight

Embrace Live At The Limelight Photo Album

Madness Live At The Odyssey

Madness Live At The Odyssey Photo Album

Linfield v Portadown

ULSTER 24-9 SCARLETS 6.12.2014

On Saturday night, I ventured to Raven Kingspan Stadium for my annual European game. Given Ulster’s start to the campaign, there might not be any knockout games to try and scramble to get a ticket for come April.

Ulster started slowly and were 3-0 down through an early penalty for Scarlets, before missing two of their own. The crowd were nervous.

For a change from recent games, I was at the side of the pitch, at the terracing at Mount Merrion. A far more enjoyable experience than being behind the goal, as you don’t get squashed in. I still don’t understand why Rugby fans enjoy walking up and down and back and forth during the game. Bloody nuisance when you’re trying to watch the game and people are walking in your road.

And don’t even start me on the people who walk really slowly and block your path because they don’t want to spill their beer, which is in a robust carrier with a lid on it.

Ulster soon regains their composure and two quick converted tries saw them open up a 14-6 lead. It could have been more, such was the dominance.

A penalty early in the second-half for Scarlets got them back into it, only a try away, but a try from Tommy Bowe made it 19-9.

Ulster search for that try that would give them a bonus point, which they got, and everybody went home happy.

Suddenly, there’s still a bit of life in this European campaign for Ulster.

Photo Album

ULSTER 27-16 MONTPELLIER 10.1.2014

The first Heineken Cup action of 2014, as Ulster looked to secure a win that would help their chances of getting to the knockout stages of the competition for the 4th successive season.

Montpellier started off the better team, and quietened the crowd, going into an early 3-0 lead.

Ulster struggled and struggled, but looked devoid of inspiration. Eventually, a try came out of nowhere, and the mood lifted. Another one came soon after, and it looked like Ulster were going to run away with it.

Montpellier, however, stuck at it, and always managed to get themselves to within a converted try of Ulster not long after Ulster looked to be putting some distance between the teams.

Ulster never looked like losing, but they had to dig in more than they wanted to, meaning qualification will come down to next Saturday’s game at Leicester.

Hopefully, Ulster can do the business, and do enough to get a home Quarter-Final. The continuing redevelopment of Ravenhill is going at an impressive pace.

Was behind the goal at Memorial End. To be honest, I think i’ll try to avoid that (only tickets for that end were available) in future, as it was an organisational shambles.

Too many people in there, and best of all, stewards telling people to move to let more people in, then telling off the same person for standing in the aisle because they’ve moved to let someone in beside them. Bit of a pain in the arse when you’re trying to watch the game and constantly having to move and having your view blocked by people moving. Think i’ll avoid that in future.

Anyway, onwards and upwards, here’s to (hopefully) a home Quarter-Final in the warmer months.

Photo Album