Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Pubs open early... but no beer for Ireland Rugby World Cup fans

An Ireland fan in the stands during the IRB Rugby World Cup match at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
Australia and Ireland fans in the stands during the IRB Rugby World Cup match at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 24: France fans pose prior to the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between New Zealand and France at Eden Park on September 24, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)

Set your alarm clocks tomorrow morning for the big rugby game — but just don’t expect a pint.

It is not often that the traditional weekend lie-in is happily abandoned for a 6am start.

But when Ireland is playing in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup then it’s a very different matter.

Tomorrow the team will be aiming to make history by reaching the last four of the tournament for the first time when they face Wales.

But with the tournament being staged in New Zealand, the time-difference means it’s an eye-wateringly early start for fans.

But keen fans planning on celebrating a victory over the Welsh with a frothy pint in hand will be sorely disappointed.

Some pubs and bars will be throwing open their doors early for the big game, but due to licensing laws won’t be serving alcohol.

Paul Glenn, from the Botanic Inn in south Belfast, said he was hoping the early start would not keep bleary-eyed fans away.

“The last time we opened so early was probably the 2002 football World Cup,” he said.

“Because it is so early in the morning it is hard to judge how many will turn up.

“We had between 100 and 150 for the two other games against Australia and Italy, although they started a bit later.

“But it should be a good atmosphere. It’s a huge game and we expect a lot of interest.”

The Errigle Inn, also in south Belfast, will also be opening from 5.30am serving sleep-deprived customers a traditional fry-up along with tea and coffee.

Matthew Hollywood from the nearby Parador Bar said they too will be opening early.

“We are opening early from about 6am — it’ll be a fry-up with cups of tea and coffee.

“Because it’s a big match we will be expecting a crowd.”

Among those planning an early start tomorrow is Iain Campbell, from Bangor, who is hoping Ireland can succeed where they have failed at the same stage in four previous tournaments.

“The game is on a knife-edge, and obviously everyone is hoping that Ireland will edge it, but it’s going to be a tough battle,” he said.

“On our day we can beat Wales, just as we can beat England and France should we get to the semi-finals.

“We’ve got momentum, so I’m very hopeful.”

Factfile

Ireland’s World Cup quarter-final record:

1987: Lost 33-15 to Australia

1991: Lost 19-18 to Australia

1995: Lost 36-12 to France

2003: Lost 43-21 to France

* Ireland did not make the quarter-finals in 1999 and 2007

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