The sun greeted Trevor Brennan when he drew the curtains on that fateful Saturday in January of 2007.
By the time it had dipped beneath the horizon hours later, little did he realise that his career as a professional rugby player would also be sunk, except there would be no prospect of a new dawn.
For soon he would be banished from the sport he loved, a lifetime of regret the expensive price of a few moments of madness. Just 25 seconds which, for too many, would sum up his then 25 years in sport.
Even now, all these years later, though gratitude for a life well lived courses through his still immense frame, happily married with two sons following in his rugby-playing footsteps, and as host of a popular watering hole near Toulouse, where the club who revived him are based, he cannot escape the events of that day.
"You're only doing your job," he replies when we prompt him as to the happenstance that sees a renewal of the fixture, Toulouse against Ulster in the European Cup, which marks a reflection of a quite remarkable day in sport, not just rugby.
Unlike this weekend, when a semi-final place is at stake, there was nothing on the line in the pool game as both sides had already been eliminated.
And unlike this weekend, there were supporters in the stadium. It was an ordinary day. But it would soon become an extraordinary one.
Brennan didn't start the game but began warming up shortly into the second half, with his team-mates in front of the away supporters, a routine he had done so many times in a career that had brought him from unfashionable Kildare junior side Barnhall to European kingpins Toulouse, via Leinster.
A multiplicity of grey areas would emerge in the hours and days and weeks that followed, through disciplinary hearings and appeals and civil actions. But what actually happened was, starkly, a black and white issue. Brennan assaulted an Ulster supporter, Patrick Bamford.
For all the whys and the wherefores and the whataboutery, that was the bottom line, the flicking of a switch inside his head that propelled him to abandon all reason.
Unaware of what had occurred yards away, Toulouse entered him into the fray as a replacement, and soon he was yellow-carded after a fracas with Ulster's Australian Justin Harrison.
It was while he was in the sin-bin that Guy Noves, the coach, learned what had happened and decided that Brennan would play no more that day. Save for 10 minutes a week later, he would never play again.
Events had moved swiftly in the aftermath of the Ulster game. He spoke with the club president and Noves before being whisked away from the ground to his home, where he spent the next few days avoiding all contact.
While the Irish airwaves and newspapers, and French media, exploded in claim and counter-claim, the stark facts of an assault, and the potential punishment, had to be resolved.
Toulouse police took action against Brennan and he was fined €800 for "violence resulting in inability to attend work for a period not exceeding eight days".
A European rugby tribunal gave the player a lifetime ban from playing rugby and fined him €25,000 and ordered him to pay €5,000 to Patrick Bamford.
After hearing testimony from a number of witnesses and reviewing documentary evidence, the organisers of the European Cup also fined him €25,000 and ordered him to pay €5,000 in compensation to the victim, Bamford, along with meeting the costs of holding the hearing.
An appeal was immediately set in train; at 33, his playing career was in ruins, a potential move to Montauban scuppered, so too the chance to return home, perhaps, as he had been offered a role as a player/coach in the AIL.
That June, the ban was reduced on appeal to five years; it still meant that his career was over.
He watched a video before that June hearing; the 100 maddest moments in sport, half-expecting to see himself featured. Many of the names, from Tyson and Cantona, were allowed to return to their sport. Brennan wasn't.
There was a victim in all this, too. Nobody expects to attend a game and be assaulted. Brennan has lived with that regret every day since, wondered should he have warmed up somewhere else, or not hopped the wall, or just shook his hand. He knows he should have rung him the next day.
It is so much ancient history now, but it is still his life. The morning after we texted him, he replies wondering why we're raking over such dark times.
"I was thinking about that day 13 years ago. If you're doing a piece, not that people would be interested, but talking about the injustice and the length of the ban.
"I was 33 years old. I'd given 21 years to the game, 10 as amateur, 11 as a professional, six with Leinster and Ireland and five with Toulouse.
"After all that did I deserve a lifetime ban? Yes, I was wrong to go into the crowd and hit someone. Maybe six months or even a year, a hefty fine and move on. I might have only played one or two years more."