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Saturday 20 January 2018

It's pints all round in Jamie's bar as hero joins match fans

Jamie Heaslip watches the Six Nations match between Italy and Ireland in his pub, The Bridge Bar in Ballsbridge, yesterday. Photo: Tony Gavin
Jamie Heaslip watches the Six Nations match between Italy and Ireland in his pub, The Bridge Bar in Ballsbridge, yesterday. Photo: Tony Gavin
Jamie Heaslip
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

Win, lose or draw, it was always going to be a night for celebration at The Bridge 1859.

In the run up to the big game, co-owner Jamie Heaslip, who is out due to injury, hinted that he would buy a round for all the pub-goers after yesterday's Six Nation's match against Italy.

But the kind gesture tasted all the sweeter when his team got its Six Nations quest off to the best possible start.

Fans cheered as the big man himself sat at the front of the pub. He was too intensely involved with every twist and turn of the game to start pulling pints himself.

The number 8 sat at the edge of his seat for the full 80 minutes as he watched his teammates put on a bravura performance against the Italians.

But there was no need for nail biting from midway in the second half as the players secured a very comfortable 26-3 victory over their rivals.

Earlier in the week, he had sent out an mail to customers inviting them down to the Ballsbridge bar to join in the revelry.

He spoke of his frustration at his short-term injury but promised to be back on the field in no time.

He wrote: "I'm bitterly disappointed not to be a part of our campaign opener against Italy this Saturday, looking forward to getting back on the pitch as soon as possible."

He also decided to make the most of his ailment, telling fans: "I've decided to cheer on the lads from the comfort of The Bridge 1859 this Saturday and I invite you to join me. If you're in the area drop down, let's ramp up the atmosphere."

He ended it with an invite that was hard to refuse: "I may even buy you a drink."

The back-row forward owns the bar with rugby stars Rob and Dave Kearney, Sean O'Brien and Noel Anderson, who also owns The Grafton Lounge in the capital.

Manager Noel said 'the Jamie factor' attracts fans who want to make the most of the Six Nation's championship: "It's great to see everyone out in support. You can feel the atmosphere in the place, it's incredible."

He remained tight-lipped on whether the players will be in the bar following their Ireland-France game in the nearby Aviva Stadium next Saturday.

Located in the heart of Dublin's rugby quarters, it is also just a big kick away from the RDS.

Inside the doors of The Bridge, enjoying the camaraderie, were avid fans Karen Coyle, from Co Roscommon, and Dolores Reegan from Co Offaly. "The entertainment factor is huge in rugby and the supporters always behave. What's not to like?" said Dolores.

Meanwhile, Ireland's women scored five tries as they opened their Six Nations campaign with a dominant 30-5 win over Italy.

Sunday Independent

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