Non-stop train takes hurling fans the long way to Tipperary
The Irish Examiner: 29 May 2006
By Dan Collins and Sean O'Riordan
EIGHTY furious GAA fans staged a mutiny on a train which failed to stop at Thurles for yesterday's Cork v Clare hurling clash.
The hurling fans had been travelling to Thurles, or so they thought, on the 1.30pm service out of Dublin's Heuston Station.
Normally, this service travels straight through to Limerick and, as nobody had bothered to tell the driver of Irish Rail's change of plan, yesterday it did just that.
On arrival at Limerick Junction, 35 minutes down the line from Thurles, 80 disbelieving supporters were more ga-ga than GAA. They descended on the driver of the train and in no uncertain terms demanded to know what the poc fada was going on.
The dismayed driver tried to explain that the train always ran from Dublin direct to Limerick and nobody had told him otherwise.
When the hurling supporters made it clear that they had purchased their tickets on the clear understanding that the 1.30pm train would, in fact, be stopping at Thurles, the driver fast-tracked their complaints to Irish Rail's head office.
Realising there had been a communications derailment, head office instructed the driver to carry the sports fans back to Thurles station, which they had earlier sped through.
Quicker than you could say "all aboard", the passengers were off-loaded to join another train which would take them the final leg to Limerick.
The GAA fans were told to stay on the train as the driver switched from the engine which had been driving to the one which had been bringing up the rear, so that he could go back over his tracks as far as Thurles. The supporters arrived at Thurles at 3.40pm and made it with just seconds to spare for the 4pm throw-in.
Last night, a spokesman for Irish Rail apologised to any passengers who were inconvenienced.
There had been a communications breakdown and Irish Rail were taking full responsibility for the mix-up. "This was not the train driver's fault," he stressed. He said he was glad it had worked out and the sports fans had made it to the match on time.