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Friday 18 October 2019

Fans at home brave rain and early start to soak up party atmosphere

Cheers: Ireland impressed in their first game. PHOTO: CHARLY TRIBELLAU
Cheers: Ireland impressed in their first game. PHOTO: CHARLY TRIBELLAU

Niamh Lynch

Rugby fans willing to brave yesterday's bad weather were treated to free breakfast rolls and a lively atmosphere at Slattery's Pub in Beggar's Bush, where Ireland's comprehensive win over Scotland was shown on big screens.

Assistant manager Jerome Ennis was more than happy to open the pub at 8am yesterday to welcome well over 60 fans up early to watch Ireland record their first win of the World Cup in Japan.

"It's unsociable hours - nobody really wants to get up on a Saturday or Sunday morning at 7am - well, the World Cup only comes around once every four years, so we're talking about the die-hards here. We're talking about people who live for the rugby," said Mr Ennis. "It's very much part of the culture here in Slattery's, so despite the fact that we can't serve alcohol, that it's very much a coffee, tea sort of a morning, the atmosphere is still there - everybody still wants to get together and experience the World Cup in a communal sort of way."

And revellers were jubilant after Ireland's impressive 27-3 win over their Pool A rivals.

There was no sign of the party stopping for Jacqui Murray, from Clonskeagh, and Mary Smith, from Kildare, who came straight from a night out to watch the game.

"We gotta be here for the first Ireland game. Even if we weren't out, we were going to come," said Ms Murray.

Not only was Gerard Hession, from Sandymount, cheering for Ireland, but he was "out to support" his son Taka, who works in Slattery's.

Mr Hession was cautiously optimistic about Ireland's chances.

"It's the next game I'd be worried about - Ireland v Japan. I'd say we'd be under a bit of pressure, but as long as we get a good start today, that's all we need to go all the way," said Mr Hession.

However, the Hession family will be divided next weekend as Taka dons the Japanese jersey in support of his mother Yoko's home country.

Jim Farrell, from Beggar's Bush, had no problem finding a seat, as the pub reserved the regular's spot where "you can see the TV from all angles".

"This is my chair for the next five weeks and nobody's getting it," he said.

"We've been waiting on this four years, and when England beat us in the warm-up, everyone was saying we're gone, but I think we're going to do very well in this World Cup," said Mr Farrell.

Meanwhile, Geraldine Linney, from Walkinstown, and Therese Hilliard, from Templeogue, were slightly more cautious of Ireland's chances. "They're doing well, but we should beat Scotland. The quarter-final is dodgy."

The friends, who work at Whitewash dry cleaners across the road from Slattery's, said they had been planning their Sunday morning for a week.

"We roar at the telly, so we wouldn't be allowed watch it at home," they said.

Mr Ennis said he "definitely" wants to continue the early match opening at the pub.

"The major rugby superpowers are not really taking Ireland all that seriously, they're kinda laughing about the fact that we're ranked number one," said Mr Ennis. "But I think here in Ireland, we know from the last six years that you just do not underestimate a Joe Schmidt team, and I anticipate that we will make it to the semi-finals, and then who knows? Fingers crossed, we could go all the way."

Irish Independent

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