St. Patrick’s Day becomes the longest day for Irish fans

One of the great days in the international rugby calendar is the annual Six Nations match between Ireland and England – not least in recent years (for those us in the green camp) because of Ireland’s tremendous record both home and away against the Old Enemy.

Last Saturday (St. Patrick’s Day, as it happened) brought that recent record to a shuddering halt, with Ireland’s dismal showing in the scrum and by the end, on the scoreboard, mirrored by their fans’ misery in the stands.

But where there’s a loser, there’s a winner too – and England’s renaissance under a new coaching team was cheered to the rafters by a buoyant Twickenham crowd – with Scorpio’s Bruce and Stuart McGuire, and another of their guests, Rodger Craig of II Wines, among those singing loudest and longest as the mauling went on. Fortunately for your correspondent, he was dispatched shortly after half-time (just before things got really bad) to the bar underneath the stands for liquid refreshments to help lubricate the increasingly vocal English throats. With the service at Twickenham’s public bars brutally slow, the game was almost over by the time I returned – having left my fellow Irishman Barry Geoghegan (of Barry Global Innovation) to suffer in silence in the stands.

(L-r) Bruce and Stuart McGuire, Barry Geoghegan, Rodger Craig and Dermot Davitt tune up before the big match

Was it all bad then? Hell no. As always, this game delivered one of the best social days out of any sports event anywhere. That was in part down to the great Twickenham hospitality, to the craic around the bars before, during and after the game – but mostly down to the welcome and friendship of our gracious hosts, the McGuires. Scorpio, of course (in which Gebr Heinemann is now a partner), is one of the great industry success stories, with a sales, marketing and distribution service to over 200 airlines, most major travel retailers, ferries and cruise liners. And the McGuires are among travel retail’s best ambassadors – and as this event underlined, among its very best hosts too.

Next year the Ireland-England fixture returns to Dublin, when we’ll look forward to returning the hospitality – not to mention overturning the result too.

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