Thursday 24 October 2019

'We’re talking about people who live for the rugby' - fans enjoy early-morning Ireland and Scotland match in pub

Niamh Lynch

Rugby fans who braved the bad weather this morning 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 around the premises.

Assistant manager of Slattery’s, Jerome Ennis was more than happy to open the pub at 8am to welcome dozens of fans who were up early to watch Ireland record its first win at the Rugby 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 diehards 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,” he said. 

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, it was gonna happen. 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 Slatterys, and needed a lift due to the “lashing rain”.

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Mr Hession was cautiously optimistic about Ireland’s chances.

“It’s the next game I’d be worried about, Ireland vs 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.”

“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. “It’s too early to watch it at home cause we roar at the telly so we wouldn’t be allowed watch it at home.”

Meanwhile, Connor Cahill, who recently moved to Ireland from Boston, “decided to support the colours”. However, his friend, Englishman Will Fenwick’s support for Ireland was just for the day as he backed his home country to proceed to the final stages.

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

“Just give us a call and we’ll get open for it - if you’re from Namibia and you’re looking forward to the New Zealand versus Namibia game at a quarter to six in the morning, we’ll go for it.”

And the assistant manager is confident he’ll be opening early for many more Ireland matches past the pool stages.

“The major rugby superpowers are not really taking them all that seriously, they’re kinda laughing about the fact that Ireland are 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.”

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