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A bird's eye view from the terrace: Pre-season 2012/2013 (Fifty Shades of Blue)

As the Summer draws to a close, Leinster supporters have finished preseason and are eyeing the road ahead. Can we make a home final in Lansdowne road? Can we match Toulouse's four stars and be the first team to do three HEC in a row? Or can we have our best season yet, throw the monkey off our backs and do the double? Players have moved on (miss you already Shaggy) and new players have arrived, with more yet to come when commitments in the Southern Hemisphere allow. Along with youngsters coming through from the academy are we set for another assault on the dual peaks of domestic and European competition or will we have the luxury of another high profile cameo to see us over the line?

Leinsterfans may be accustomed and indeed more comfortable with a less than stellar pre-season but Leinster's youngsters were not of a mind to continue that tradition in an almost sold out Tallaght stadium earlier this month when they defeated Gloucester 33-22. Normal service was resumed away against Northampton however with Leinster defeated 43-0 in a performance that can only be explained by Joe Schmidt having lost the dressing room. Time will tell... The final preseason was a draw away to Sale in appalling weather conditions. I'm sure we all appreciated the efforts made by the OLSC in tweeting updates from these untelevised games.

Victory in our first preseason match may have broken with tradition but another tradition appears to be going strong with a babbling brook regular travelling to Northampton and then to Sale last weekend as she continues her unbroken run of attendances (home and away). Aisling O'Connor will of course be travelling this season with a new title after her name having been elected as the first female president of the OLSC earlier in the Summer. A fitting appointment for a club with such a large female membership - if only the sports retailers of Leinster would take note. One retailer who has taken note as ever is the Leinster Rugby Store - wonderfully topical t-shirts now available, Fifty Shades of Blue - I'll be paying a visit to pick one up soon. Speaking of t-shirts no doubt the OLSC are already hard at work on the latest in the fantastic legends series. Given our success of recent years there is almost a backlog of legends waiting for the ultimate acknowledgment but surely a Jennings offering can't be too far away - can it...?

So, the season starts with a trip to Parc y Scarlets on Saturday Sept 1st - my first visit in some time due to weather and work. I don't expect there to be a large travelling contingent with most people waiting for the HEC visit there in October - but I'm sure there will still be great craic in the Cat and a wedding to crash in the wee small hours...

Leinsterfans are spoilt for HEC aways this year. Llanelli and Clermont Ferrand have given us some of the best away trips in recent years and return visits are greatly anticipated - although numbers at the latter are bound to take a hit with kick-off scheduled for 4pm on a Sunday. The new year will bring our first visit to Exeter where I'm sure we will find a worthy equivalent to the Kilkenny Cat and Cafe Pascal and no doubt some knowledgeable banter with the locals.

Finally - as we look to our first home game in the RDS against the Dragons on Sept 8th we wonder if this will be our last season playing there. If rumour is to be believed we could be running out in anything from the Liberty Stadium to the Kentucky Fried Chicken Arena next season. Perhaps the Bear pit would be a better option given the sideline of a certain back rower. Along with Anglesea stand redevelopment plans there could be some interesting times ahead for Leinsterfans and the RDS. Whatever they call it, once there's a still a terrace this bird will be happy!

by Yvonne Kelly, © 2012-08-30

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