Plenty of Irish supporters in Chch
Thu, 14 Jun 2012 6:14p.m.
By Annabelle Tukia
There will be no shortage of vocal fans cheering on the Irish rugby team when they take on the All Blacks in Christchurch on Saturday night.
Fans gone to extreme lengths to ensure they don't miss out on supporting their favourite team.
Irishman Paul Carton is doing his bit to help rebuild Christchurch - he's an electrician working in the central city red-zone.
But come Saturday night, all allegiances with his new home will be cast aside as he cheers on his beloved Irish rugby team.
He's one of 100 Irish fans who bought Crusader's season tickets just to ensure they didn't miss out on the test.
And working in the red-zone everyday amongst increasing numbers of his fellow countrymen – Mr Carton reckons he's got safety in numbers.
“The amount of Irish that have come over the last year to six months is unbelievable whenever you go out anywhere you hear accents from all walks of Ireland.”
There are hundreds of them here and immigration New Zealand says visa applications from Irish nationals wanting to live and work in Christchurch have doubled since the earthquakes.
Colm Fitzhenry was granted one. He came to Christchurch after the Irish economy collapsed, crippling the booming construction industry.
“Everything just came to a halt. There's a lot of ghost towns that have been built but have just been left because there's no more money to pump into the construction industry.”
Irish construction manager Paudie Kenneally was happy to show his favourite team where he's been working for the last six months. He'll be at the game Saturday night hoping for some luck of the Irish.
“I've got to go with the Irish but it’s going to be a tall order for them.”
A tall order that'd earn these Irish lads bragging rights on Christchurch construction sites for months.
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