2014 IN PICTURES – JANUARY

As the year is coming to an end, it’s time to have a look back. I took a lot of photos, and here are some of my favourite photos.

The year was supposed to start for me watching Linfield take on Glenavon. Unfortunately, that match was postponed, so I had to wait a further three days for my first football match of the year.

That came, at Warrenpoint, a first visit there, to see Linfield come from 2-0 down to win 3-2.

The following weekend, it was all about the oval ball as I headed to Ravenhill to see Ulster take on Montpellier.

Anyway, back to football, and the month’s fixtures sent me to Ballymena, to see Linfield come from behind to win.

January wasn’t all about Football and Rugby, there was even a concert, Hugh Cornwell at the Black Box.

Warrenpoint v Linfield

Ulster v Montpellier

Ulster v Montpellier Photo Album

Linfield v Crusaders/Ballymena United v Linfield

Hugh Cornwell Live At The Black Box

Hugh Cornwell Live At The Black Box Photo Album

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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

ULSTER 22-16 LEICESTER TIGERS 11.10.2013

Went to Ravenhill last night for my annual European Cup tie, as Ulster took on Leicester.

I almost said “The newly refurbished Ravenhill” as it’s not yet complete, but the bits that were complete, were impressive.

There is new turnstiles. The old and drab looking grey wall has been replaced with something more bright, complete with Ulster branding.

There were no operators, but stewards on hand to help, as it was all computerised as you swiped the barcode on your ticket to enter.

There were some problems with people who had printed tickets trying to get their barcode to scan though.

There were no tents for the bar and club shop any more, those now situated underneath the new stand. I’ve always thought that Ravenhill would be a fantastic stadium if it was all seater at four ends.

I was in the West Terrace, at the end where Ulster attacked in the first-half, got myself a position by the Try Line.

There are now two large TV screens as well in two corners of the ground. When the ball was up at the other end of the pitch, people beside me were turning in the opposite direction to watch the action on the screen.

It would have been nice if the digital clock was still there so people could check what stage the game was at.

For the second-half, I got a space in the new stand and watched the game from there, with supporters having the choice of a seat or standing on the terracing.

Of the game itself, Leicester took an early lead with a converted try, but Ulster replied with a converted try soon after wards. From then on, it was all about ticket as Ulster scored two penalties to Leicester’s oone, leading 13-10 at the break, though Leicester levelled just after half-time.

From there, it was all Ulster and they scored three penalties to lead 22-13, knowing that a converted try for Leicester wouldn’t be enough for them to lead.

Leicester scored a penalty late on, but never looked like winning.

An enjoyable night, can’t wait to go to a match at Ravenhill when it’s fully finished.

Photo Album

2012 IN PICTURES – DECEMBER (SO FAR)

The year might have been winding down to an end, but I was still out and about in my camera.

On the very first day of the month, I found myself at Ballyskeagh, a venue not known for being kind to amateur photography, and so it proved, as I got pictures as dull and uninspiring as Linfield’s performance that day.

The following Saturday, was a wee adventure to somewhere i’d never been before, Ballinamallard, for Linfield’s first (competitive) visit there.

Made a whole day of it, and managed to get some good photos from a ground which is very friendly to amateur photography.

The following Saturday, I did a Football/Rugby double header, as I went to a Linfield match at 3pm, then over to Ravenhill for 6pm

The Ulster match against Northampton was my annual Winter trip for a European game. I’d got the tickets in September, which turned out to be a good decision, as the game sold out well in advance.

My previous four visits saw Ulster win. Unfortunately, that run came to an end.

On Saturday, I was at Seaview for Linfield’s visit to Crusaders, and managed to get some good shots at a ground which is usually friendly to amateur photography.

So, that’s my round-up of my photo adventures in 2012 over. Here’s to more in 2013.

Lisburn Distillery v Linfield

Ballinamallard v Linfield

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Ulster v Northampton

Ulster v Northampton Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield

ULSTER 9-10 NORTHAMPTON SAINTS 15.12.2012

Less than an hour after the full-time whistle blew at Windsor Park, I was at Ravenhill for the Heineken Cup tie between Ulster and Northampton.

I usually go to one European game a season, usually in December, and this was it. The fact that the 6pm kick-off gave me a possible Football/Rugby double header made it even more appealing.

The previous four matches i’d been to, they won. So this, coupled with recent form was going to make it a certain win for Ulster? Erm, no.

Ulster paid for a slow start when they went 10-0 down, and even though they pulled it back to 10-9, it wasn’t enough as Northampton held on for the win.

Ravenhill is good for amateur photography, and managed to get some ok shots with the very little match action that came my way.

Enjoy

Ulster v Harlequins Photo Album

Ulster v Stade Francais

Ulster v Stade Francais Photo Album

Ulster v Bath

Ulster v Bath Photo Album

Ulster v Aironi

Ulster v Aironi Photo Album

Ulster v Northampton Photo Album

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STLFTEM ROUND-UP 2011

Seeing as it’s the end of the year, almost, I thought I’d keep you all up to date with my STLFTEM for 2011.

For those who don’t know, STLFTEM is basically Something To Look Forward To Every Month.

I started it in 2009, and it basically is to have something to go, see or do every month, and look forward to it.

The only rules are that it has to be something seen in person. Therefore, watching Euro 2012 on TV won’t count for June next year.

Also, I can have more than one STLFTEM each month. In fact, I can have as many as I wish.

January was a bit of a cheat, as I went to the Linfield v Glentoran match postponed from 26th December 2010. But, my lifestyle ethos, my rules.

February was a bumper month as I went to Barcelona for a weekend, and then the following Wednesday, I went to see Northern Ireland take on Scotland.

March was also a Northern Ireland match. A 0-0 draw v Slovenia. Yep, that was well worth the wait.

April was a bumper month with a title showdown for Linfield against Crusaders and three matches against Glentoran, one of which was an Irish Cup Semi-Final. Not only that, but there was also the matter of Beady Eye’s first concert in Belfast.

Four wins, and an excellent concert made it a worthwhile month.

May was all about travelling as I went to the UEFA Cup Final, and Manchester United’s last match of the season, against Blackpool.

June was quiet, but I did go and see 3OH!3

July was also quiet, but Linfield playing in Europe and a pre-season friendly against Derriaghy were enjoyable. As I stated earlier, some months are a struggle.

August was busy with the start of the new Irish League season and trips to Edinburgh and Brighton.

September was the Arthur’s Day concert at Ulster Hall (Any my ticket was free)

October was another concert at Ulster Hall, Noah and the Whale. There were fantastic.

I’d hoped that November would be going to the MTV EMAs. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a ticket, so I had to make do with a trip to Old Trafford to see United take on Sunderland.

December will be the Boxing Day match at The Oval. If that bites the dust because of the weather, I’ll make it the Ulster v Aironi match two weeks ago (Again, a free ticket)

Well, that is how i’ve managed to have STLFTEM throughout the year, but I’ve already got some lined up for 2012.

In January, I’m going to see Roy “Catchphrase” Walker as part of the Out To Lunch Festival.

February will be a busy month as I’ll be taking a break to Amsterdam from 3rd-6th, then going to see Noel Gallagher at The Odyssey on 16th, before flying to Manchester on 23rd.

I’m hoping to see United v Ajax. I’ve no ticket sorted as yet, but I’m confident I’ll get one.

Pretty tempted to go and see The Beat at The Limelight in March. Undecided as yet.

August of course, will see me head to Edinburgh for the Festival. If I could afford to, I’d spend the whole month there.

So that, is how I’ve managed to enjoy myself at least once a month this year and how I plan to do so next year.

If you have any suggestions for any of the months, feel free to get in touch and suggest.

ULSTER 31-10 AIRONI 9.12.2011

As an unexpected bonus, was at Ravenhill tonight to see Ulster take on Aironi in the Heineken Cup, having won free tickets in a competition.

I decided to make this a back-up STLFTEM just in case Boxing Day gets postponed again.

Headed over and had tickets by the side of the pitch and got into a good position to take photos.

Was a cold night, but the result certainly warmed things up as Ulster scored five tries to coast to an easy victory against poor opposition.

It was the 4th time i’d been to Ravenhill for a match, all in the Heineken Cup, and 3 of which were competition wins. On all four occasions, Ulster won.

I must be some sort of lucky charm, or I just pick my matches well.

Ulster v Harlequins Photo Album

Ulster v Stade Francais

Ulster v Stade Francais Photo Album

Ulster v Bath

Ulster v Bath Photo Album

Ulster v Aironi Photo Album

 

2010 IN PICTURES – DECEMBER (SO FAR)

Whilst the snow might have meant that there have been no football matches to photograph, but has given me some snow to photograph.

Was at the Ulster v Bath match and got some not bad photos, whilst I was out at the weekend past getting some snow photos.

See Also

Snow Photos

Snow Photo Album

Ulster v Bath

Ulster v Bath Photo Album

ULSTER 22-18 BATH 11.12.2010

Something different this week as I took advantage of a football-free Saturday to head over to Ravenhill to see Ulster take on Bath in the Heineken Cup.

Managed to get a not bad view and camera position and some not bad photos.

Don’t worry, this time next week, i’ll be at Windsor Park.

Even though it was an enjoyable game today, excuse the pun, I haven’t been converted. Enjoy.

Photo Album

RUGGER

Last Saturday lunchtime it was The Oval, this Saturday lunchtime, it was The Oval Ball.

Managed to blag some free tickets to the Ulster v Stade Francais match.

Decided to leave at half-time in order to get to Windsor Park for the Linfield match. In hindsight, I don’t know why I bothered.

Need to brush up on my Rugby ettiquette though, as they seem to frown upon it when you call the ref a bastard if you disagree with his decision.

Got a few photographs of the match.

Nothing from Windsor Park though, because (a) Windsor Park is shit for amateur photography, unless you are in the Bottom Deck of the North Stand (b) There was nothing worth photographing.

Enjoy