Neasa Galwey can be forgiven for not remembering her first trip to Vicarage Road — after all, she was only seven months old.
Her Dad’s recollection is somewhat sharper of that November day in Watford just over two decades ago.
Then again, Munster’s first win over an English team on English soil is stamped and franked in Mick Galwey’s temporal lobe.
“I hadn’t seen that one,” he says of the picture taken by Sportsfile’s Brendan Moran in the moments after that historic European Cup win over a star-laden Saracens on November 28, 1999, “but I do remember it was a very cold day and you can see Neasa is well wrapped up.
It wasn’t her first game though — she had been in Thomond Park two weeks before and she was also up at a match in Belfast. It’s amazing to think that 20 years have passed since that photograph was taken but it is lovely to look back at it now, given the day it turned out to be.
The day hadn’t started out so well for Galwey (senior) though.
“I had a chesty cough and I was out of breath after five minutes. They had an early try so you can imagine how I was feeling at that stage!”
Saracens led 21-9 at half-time and were 34-23 clear with eight minutes remaining. But in an incredible finish, tries from Anthony Foley and Jeremy Staunton coupled with Ronan O’Gara’s conversion delivered a barely believable 34-35 victory.
“We knuckled down and drove on,” Galwey recalled. “We had to make a statement and that is what we did. Looking back, it was a monumental day for Munster rugby.”
Neasa Galwey is now 20 and studying Irish at the University of Limerick. And though her recollections of those golden moments are little more than patchy at best, she is still surprised with how many people remember her little cameo appearances post-game.
Sometimes when people hear the second name, especially adults, they ask if I am anything to Mick. Funnily enough, more often than not they will say that they remember me from seeing me in my dad’s arms after matches.
By the time she was three, Neasa was a seasoned campaigner wherever and whenever the Munster Army marched on Europe.
And was also quick to show an independent streak.
“When we lost the European final to Leicester in 2002 at the Millennium Stadium she was mad to get out onto the pitch. We had a job to keep her off,” laughs Mick.
“My mom (Joan) says I was keen to make my own way on,” smiles Neasa.
Nowadays she enjoys her rugby from a distance. “I never played or anything like that. I play camogie with O’Loughlin Gaels in Kilkenny but I’d watch Munster matches on television and I’ve gone a few times to watch them live.”
But it’s not just the photographs which provide Neasa with those days, she has something more tangible to link her with the past: “I’d be friendly with Peter Clohessy’s daughter (Jane) and Philip Danaher’s daughter (Becky). We would have all been around the same age and we still keep in touch.”