The Leinster Mascot

Now onto the story of why we have been so darn busy this new year,as anybody who reads this blog should realise by now we are HUGE rugby fans, none more so than my hubby and for Christmas he got from Santa – a new Leinster sweatshirt, a Leinster Flask and 4 tickets to see Leinster v Ospreys in the RDS on the 7th of January as part of his presents.
He and I always attend the rugby together but we don’t take the girls usually but they like rugby and I liked the idea of all of us going together.
While sorting out the tickets I came across a competition on the Leinster site looking for mascots for the team  kids between 8 – 12 and who like rugby, well we have one of those and her name is Caitlin.
She loves rugby and watches all the matches with her Daddy and knows all the players, so I entered her online and thought no more about it, after all Christmas had to be organised and all that.
So I nearly dropped when we got the call asking would Caitlin be willing to be mascot for the Ospreys match, hell yes she would, she would be sent a full kit to wear and more tickets and the opportunity to go out onto the pitch holding Leo Cullen’s hand. 
To say she was excited was an understatement especially as she might get to finally meet her all time favourite rugby player Jamie Heaslip who she affectionately calls “Banana boots” ( he used to wear yellow boots on the pitch)

We had to send in a headshot too as it was to be in the match program  – this would be the one they used 🙂

Now the other reason she loves Jamie, other than the fact he is fantastic at rugby and wears yellow boots is Jamie has a new dog – a very cute puppy in fact. Not sure who wins Caitlin’s affections more Jamie or his puppy, as Caitlin would love a puppy ( not happening yet with a toddler to mind kid )

She had to make do with Tiny the Hamster, she got him with her Christmas money and while picking Tiny up at the pet shop she wandered off and came back with a puppy toy she had brought with some of the said Christmas money – I thought it was a bit big for Tiny to play with but she explained that she wanted to give it to Jamie for his puppy when she went to the match. I wasn’t sure if this was going to be possible but she was so earnest about the whole thing I didn’t have the heart to put her off.

By the time the day of the match arrived the excitement was ninety, Caitlin went through every type of mood an hour from nervous to terrified to thrilled to delighted to excited and to make matters more interesting it was raining – not just raining it was pouring !! Never the less we set off from Cavan in high spirits for the RDS nice and early and were there in plenty of time.

Pictures I got straining over the balcony in the Anglesea stand !

       Caitlin was taken off our hands before the match by the lovely Denise and led her onto the pitch with the other little fella who was mascot that day. They were given a rugby ball to play with while the teams warmed up and then it was quick change and off with the coats and tracksuits to hold the Captain’s hand as the team was lead out. Apparently Leo Cullen’s hand is very warm according to Caitlin.

Caitlin’s 15 seconds of fame 🙂

The team warming up

The match was a tough one – not pretty that is for sure and I am sure it was mostly to do with the appalling weather but we had a ball and Caitlin joined us up in our seats. The other tickets weren’t wasted either as my sister Jen, my cousins Claire and Ellie and my Uncle Shay came along and although they got drowned loved the match.
Much to Caitlin’s relief the team won – she was worried she would be bad luck as mascot. 
Caitlin was a bit disappointed though that she had no opportunity to give her toy to Jamie before the match so after the match we went down to where the players leave and waited ( and waited and waited) it was blummin’ freezing and so darn wet but she was determined to fulfil her mission that we sat it out – although I sent CJ and Becca to get tea before hypothermia set in.
At last the players came out – CJ got to meet one of his heroes Isa Nacewa I did get a picture but it was not great due to my camera not appreciating the rain and at last Jamie came out with Cian Healy – Caitlin nervously grabbed her chance and handed over her toy – Did she ask for a photo, no! Did she ask for anything in fact, no!!
She was too nervous but the fact he was so thrilled with it made her day.
So the next day when he tweeted on Twitter a picture of the puppy playing with it she nearly passed out with the joy of the whole thing – mad kid!!
Anyway we had such a ball at the Rugby that week that we knew we had to bring the kids to the match the following week. Caitlin decided she wanted to make a memento of the awesome occasion and so we made a book using pictures and old tickets of all the rugby matches we have been to including Caitlin’s big day and at the back we left a few pages free,also this time brought a pen just in case the odd Rugby player was available to sign it.
 Again after a brilliant match we headed down to see who we could find and Caitlin managed to snag a fair few including Mike Ross and Johnathan Sexton and even the one and only Brian O’Driscoll – she is was a tiny bit gutted because Jamie wasn’t playing but Cian Healy made her day when he seemed to recognise her from the week before I am not sure if he did or not but he is a great guy for making her think he did anyway – in fact he is now her next favourite player – he got major brownie points with Caitlin that day.

After all the excitement of the match we took the girls to our new favourite restaurant Wagamama’s for dinner it was a great day out all told, only thing is now the girls want to go to every match, the next one we can get to is on Becca’s birthday I thought there was no way she would want to do that on her 16th birthday but I was wrong – so more rugby is definitely in the future for all of us especially now Leinster are through to the 1/4 finals of the Heineken Cup !

By the way if you ever end up in a Wagamama’s I recommend the Yaki Soba and the Coconut Ice cream they are to die for.

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