2016 IN PICTURES – FEBRUARY

February began for me seeing Linfield beating Dungannon Swifts 6-0, a good start to the month.

The following weekend, I was on the road to Shamrock Park, to see Linfield lose 2-1.

Back on the road the following weekend, this time to Coleraine, with a better result, with Linfield coming from 2-0 down to win 3-2.

The next day, I made the most of a free ticket to see Ulster take on Scarlets. Unfortunately, the game ended up in an agonising one point defeat for Ulster.

Two days after that I headed to The Limelight to see Foxes in concert.

The month ended with me heading to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Glenavon, a match that saw an outfield player go in goal and save a penalty.

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Portadown v Linfield

Coleraine v Linfield

Ulster v Scarlets

Ulster v Scarlets Photo Album

Foxes live at The Limelight

Foxes live at The Limelight Photo Album

Linfield v Glenavon

ULSTER 20-21 SCARLETS 21.2.2016

Made the most of a free ticket this afternoon to head to Ravenhill to see Ulster take on Scarlets in the Pro 12. The tickets were given out last Wednesday in the Tourist Information Centre in Belfast as part of Random Acts of Kindness Day.

It was random and very kind, and I was more than happy to take advantage of it. It was part of a goodie bag, which also included a scarf and a calendar.

I was behind the goal at the Memorial End. The last time I was there, I vowed never to stand behind the goal at Ravenhill again, due to being packed in like sardines, especially bad at that end.

Today, wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t the biggest crowd at Ravenhill this season, the number of empty seats were noticable, and I enjoyed the novelty of having room around me when watching the game. That would probably explain why tickets were being given away for this game.

Ulster got off to a slow start, and Scarlets weren’t slow in exploiting it, Michael Collins scoring a try on 5 minutes. Thankfully for Ulster, the conversion was missed.

To give an idea of how bad the opening minutes were for Ulster, the loudest cheer from the home fans came when Peter Edwards of Scarlets required a change of shorts, and had to do so in front of the whole crowd, to cries of derision.

On 15 minutes, Aled Thomas made it 8-0 with a penalty, and it looked like Scarlets were going to run away.

A game can change very quickly, with a drop goal and a converted try putting Ulster into a 10-8 lead. The try came courtesy of Craig Gilroy, Mr February in my free calendar, and the other 5 points coming from Paddy Jackson.

Before Ulster could get settled into their lead, Scarlets immediately snatched it back with another try from Michael Collins. This time, the try was converted, giving Scarlets a 15-10 lead.

As the half headed towards it’s end, Ulster regained the initiative, with another converted try, to give them a half-time lead of 17-15.

Or so they thought, as there was enough time for a Scarlets penalty, which was missed, hitting the crossbar.

Ironically, there was a Crossbar Challenge on the pitch before the match, with nobody winning. I don’t think Aled Thomas was in the mood for claiming a prize.

After all that, Ulster would have their half-time lead, albeit a very slim one.

Thomas would have more joy in the early moments of the second-half to give Scarlets a 18-17 lead.

This was always going to be a game that would be decided by a point. Scarlets were now on the right side of that point.

Both teams then exchanged penalties, Scarlets going 21-17 in front before being pulled back to 21-20. Again, just a point in it, but Scarlets on the right side of that point.

Ulster spent the final minutes trying to get a winning point. Even a drop goal would have been enough. The problem was, they face a brick wall of Scarlets players.

As the clock hit 80 minutes, Scarlets kicked for touch to end the game, it looked like there was an opportunity for Ulster to keep the ball in possession and launch one last attack.

The ball was kept in play, but then bounced out of play. It was close, but ultimately agonising. It summed up the game.

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