AFTER a three-year wait, London Irish have finally been able to host their annual St Patrick’s Day match for their fans – and what a party it was.
Ben White signs flags and shirts for the fans (PIC: Chris Egan)
On Saturday, March 26, the Irish-themed celebration was, for the first time, held at their new home, the Brentford Community Stadium in west London.
Mini rugby players take a pitch walk ahead of the game (PIC: Chris Egan)
And, following a season played behind closed doors, London Irish opened their doors to host a home-warming party in style.
Fans dress up for the annual St Patrick’s Day match (PIC: Chris Egan)
Music was provided from The Reels, Bible Code Sundays, and The London Irish Community Choir and a display of Irish dancing came from the Scoil Rince Céin Oir Irish dancers.
74 mini rugby teams took part in a rugby festival ahead of the game (PIC: CHris Egan)
Add into the mix a sun-drenched stadium and over 1000 mini and junior rugby players who were invited to walk around the pitch and you have the ingredients for a great celebration.
Hats off to the fans who came to support the London Irish at their new home (PICS: Chris Egan)
On the pitch there was still a match to be plated, with London Irish going up against Northampton Saints.
Ollie Hassell-Collin got the scoring underway for London Irish with a try within the seventh minute.
Fans basked in glorious sunshine throughout the match (PICS: Chris Egan)
With Paddy Jackson failing to get the conversion, he quickly made up for the mishap with a penalty in the tenth minute to take the score line to 8-0 and all seemed to be going well for the Exiles.
Scoil Rince Céin Oir Irish Dancers perform at half time (PIC: Chris Egan)
But a record-breaking 15,085 person crowd at the Exiles’ new home for the match and two second-half tries from Nick Phipps were not enough to overcome the on-form Northampton Saints.
Nick Phipps clears from the ruck for London Irish (PIC: Chris Egan)
The game ended London Irish 22, Northampton Saints 42.
Following the match, as the crowd began to leave the stadium, the Bible Code Sundays took to the stage to play a concert.
Bible Code Sundays play a concert in ‘the bowl’ (PIC: Chris Egan)
London Irish players took the opportunity to thank the crowd, pose for photographs and sign flags and memorabilia.
One moment please…