I ignored a broken ankle to go and see U2, and I regret nothing 3 years ago

I ignored a broken ankle to go and see U2, and I regret nothing

Eric Lalor writes about the time he ignored a broken ankle to go and see U2 in Slane. It was worth it.

The one and only time I’ve been to Slane was to witness a concert by my beloved U2. Three days prior, I had been playing football up at the AUL in Clonsaugh and hurt my ankle in a 50-50. Couldn’t play on and had to come off the pitch, but I knew something was up.

In my infinite wisdom, I decided not to go to the hospital because I assumed I had sprained it and didn’t want to wait in A&E for six hours to be told just that. I had been down this road before and even had the crutches to prove it. Also, in the back of my mind, I knew I was going to see U2 in Slane and didn’t want any fuss.

The big day came and cans were assembled into plastic bags as we embarked on our pilgrimage to Slane. I won’t lie, the ankle was throbbing so it probably explained why I got stuck into the cans with great gusto on the bus.

My mates were a little bewildered as to why I hadn’t gone to the hospital so I reiterated my story about not wanting to waste my time in the A&E. The fact that my whole leg had turned a mix of purple and black was a little unsettling of course, but I remained steadfast in my opinion that it was just a sprain.

The atmosphere heading to Slane was amazing.

Everyone in great form and there was a real buzz in the air. Not only were we about to see U2, but it was also the day Ireland would play Holland in a crunch World Cup qualifier in Lansdowne Road. I was chuffed to hear that they would be showing the match on these giant screens in Slane for the crowd to see.

I will never forget the atmosphere as the match kicked off. It was like being at Landsdowne as the 80,000 cheered the boys in green on. As soon as Roy Keane welcomed Marc Overmars to Dublin with a bone crunching tackle, the tone was set and the place erupted in patriotic fervour.

Then the goal came. What a goal too. Jason McAteer with the sweetest of finishes past Van Der Saar to put Ireland one up. I was engrossed in the game and the cans were going down a treat. I forgot about my leg. The ball had just hit the back of the net and I leapt for joy. I soon remembered the leg as I landed and collapsed in a heap, but rolled down the hill on top of a few girls who had the picnic blanket out.

I rolled over their drinks and sambos and was met with considerable derision when I had stopped. I tried to explain that my leg was very sore, but that I had forgotten about it. This didn’t make sense to them and the more I pleaded, the worse I looked.

Slurring words while pleading for forgiveness is never a cool thing to do, folks.

The game went on and the Dutch dominated, but they couldn’t score and eventually, the full-time whistle went and an almighty roar went up around Slane as the Irish had secured a hugely significant win.

The buzz in Slane couldn’t have been better as we anticipated the arrival of U2 on stage. Imagine we had lost that match? Bono, being the master of the zeitgeist, ended Beautiful Day with a little homage to Jason McAteer for his ‘Beautiful goal’ and the place went nuts.

Clip via Alejandro Santos

The adrenaline mixed with alcohol proved to be the ideal painkiller as I lapped up every song and danced like nobody was watching, because, well, nobody was watching. It was a massive party in a field and one of the greatest shows I’ve ever been to.

It took the usual four days to get home from Slane, but it was worth it. Woke up the next day and the ankle was throbbing.

I eventually succumbed to the pain and ended up in the hospital where I had an x-ray. Found out that my ankle was broken, dislocated and had a small fragment of bone floating around in my bloodstream. Had an operation to have six screws and a plate inserted.

Stupid I know, but if I had gone to the hospital on the night it had happened, I wouldn’t have got to Slane and that for me vindicates my decision. I’m very much looking forward to seeing U2 in Croke Park this Saturday and delighted that all my limbs are intact.