On 11 September 2011 eight Challenge 2000 team members wrapped themselves in an array of Irish and Munster jerseys and headed up to New Plymouth for the Ireland vs USA game. For that game we were kindly reminded by our fearless leader that our allegiance lies with Ireland and no other team – although once meeting up with Jamie –our USA staff member – we managed to cheer for the Sates too!! After a road trip of four and a half hours and stops at famous towns like Levin, Bulls and Hawera, we reached Taranaki. All we could see was a sea of green supporters, sprinkled with a few Americans.
The atmosphere was filled with excitement and energy … I have always been proud of our little nation but on this occasion watching the crowd regardless of the colours they wore supporting both teams made me even prouder to be a Kiwi. To share this experience with the other members of the team was incredible. The Challenge team made the experience a once in a lifetime one – full of laughter, craic, fun, singing, adventure and of course a few history lessons about Ireland and the challenges there. Sinead was a great presence being the only pure Irish person amongst us! Craig Butler showed fantastic hospitality – making us very welcome at St Josephs presbytery and being sooo friendly AND thanks for the mattresses and the breakfast on Monday. Then back to work refuelled and a closer team. Go the All Blacks!! We look forward to an Irish All Black Final…????