The club game has taken me away from Connacht home games this season meaning my visits to the Sportsground have been dramatically reduced.
While I enjoy my role in the club right now and took it knowing this would have some impact on my ability to attend my province’s games, that doesn’t take away from the fact that I’m missing the banter on the Clan terrace.
The Clan Terrace has become a huge asset to the Connacht cause and at this stage the home advantage that we get from this is greater than it ever was and up to the standards of many of the top clubs around Europe in its own unique way.
Of course, our home record remains weaker than it should be with some key games having slipped past us, like, for example Edinburgh, Cardiff and Munster this season but I’m in no doubt that more key 50/50 decisions are flowing our way than have done so in the past.
However, I was in the Clan stand for first time in two and half months for the Munster game, and I have to say, I was extremely disappointed with the amount of booing of the referee received as he left the field after the final whistle.
In my view, this has no place in rugby.
Earlier in the game I had been greatly encouraged to see the crowd collectively admonishing a few young supporters who were jeering the opposition kicker.
So why the double standards? Why collectively as a group agree that booing kickers is wrong yet appear to accept that kind of treatment of a referee after the game?
Don’t get me wrong, I shout at referees during games to try and influences their decision making like anyone else.
The players show respect for the referees authority on the field and when the game is over the fans should back that up.
Respect for the referee is the element of the game that the other sports admire most about rugby.
As fans we need to makes sure we uphold that respect in Connacht.
Alan Deegan is a regular contributor to KnockOn.ie and a Connacht rugby support