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30th Mar 2023

Mack Hansen tells us the full story behind Ireland’s party bus celebrations

Patrick McCarry

Mack Hansen

“Back to reality, which is good, good, good.”

The Tuesday after Ireland’s latest Grand Slam success saw a good chunk of the squad keep the party going by hiring a bus to scoot them about. Mack Hansen was one of the senior stars who had been afforded a week off after logging big championship minutes.

While the likes of Craig Casey, Jack Crowley, Jacob Stockdale, Dave Kilcoyne, and others, headed back to their provinces, Hansen, Tom O’Toole and Peter O’Mahony stuck around with a stack of the Leinster players to keep the celebrations fizzing.

Following the victory over England, RTÉ asked the Connacht and Ireland winger what his plans were for the coming days. “Drink, drink, drink, drink,” he remarked. “No we will enjoy it, run into some fans and get to share the experience with them.”

A clip of a mini-bus full of Ireland players was shared widely and featured Peter O’Mahony’s rapid response when he was told, “Pete, this is South County Dublin!”

“I’m getting some ****ing tour of the place,” the Munster man cracked back.

House of Rugby’s Jason Hennessy caught up with Mack Hansen, now back in the Connacht fold ahead of their Challenge Cup date with Benetton Treviso, and he provided some background on the party bus, and the Grand Slam “craic”.

Mack Hansen

‘One of the best days of my life’ – Mack Hansen

Mack Hansen arrived in Galway in 2021 and lit up the United Rugby Championship with a number of eye-catching performances, and scores. He was called into Ireland’s 2022 Six Nations squad but many expected he would only get a taste, and a small amount of playing time.

Instead, he had a fine start against Wales, scored a cracker against France and never looked back. He started all five of Ireland’s Grand Slam games, bagged three tries and was one of three men in green to get nominated for Player of the Championship for the 2023 Six Nations.

“Oh, it was absolutely incredible,” he says, of Ireland’s Grand Slam triumph. “It was, yeah.

“It’s still kind of hard to put into words, but I just said it was just one of the best days of my life. To be honest, it was it was definitely worth the wait. To get the Grand Slam in Dublin was something I’ll definitely remember for the rest of my life.”

On the post-match celebrations, which blurred into a 72-hour run, Hansen says:

“We had a function and then we went back to The Shelbourne for that, night as well. They put on a bit of a show for us there, which is great. Free pints, good people. You know, what more can you need?

“We decided to hire a party bus and then we realised that it was only about a down the road where we were going. So we didn’t want to waste the party bus. We thought, ‘Oh f**k it, let’s just go pick up a few dads that were on the piss with us for a couple of days’. And that’s all we did, just went around in a couple of houses. Garry was joining us… He was there for day three, so he didn’t call it early.

“And it just happened to be his mum’s birthday when we got in there. So, the champagne was pops and we got singing and yeah, it was some craic, some house as well.”

“We dropped by the Sheehans, as well, and the Keenans. We picked up Cheese’s [Jame Ryan’s] dad, just off the road. It must have looked like we were picking up a random lad. He was standing out the front [of the house] so was ready to go. I think we ended up with about five dads along with us and, honestly, they just added to it. It was one of the best days drinking I’ve ever had in my entire life. It was such craic.”

“I think day three was probably my favourite of the days,” he added. “Josh van der Flier, being the nicest guy in the world like he is, we all went to a pub and he ran out and got us all some Bunsen burgers.

“We just went to a couple of bars and, I don’t know, it was just, everybody wasn’t saying too much… nothing too hectic came out of really, everybody was just having a good time the whole three days.

“It was a big, big, big couple days, but definitely worth it.”

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