Packie Bonner, Jack Charlton, Ray Houghton, Robbie Keane… all names synonymous with Ireland’s World Cup campaigns of the past. The boys in green may not be representing our nation in Brazil this summer, but the Crane Lane Theatre is proving to be an ideal spot to watch the games on television.
Football fans watching England’s game against Uruguay on Thursday evening had the choice of watching the match while basking in the warm and sunshine within the Crane’s ever popular smoking garden area, or – if heat is not your thing – you could head inside to watch Steven Gerrard and company in the main theatre room or back bar, depending on your preference.
The absolute magic of the World Cup exists in how all the nations of the world take an interest. England supporters mingled with fans wishing for their team’s early exit, while visitors from all countries kept an eye on the action in a collective way that is unique to the tournament.
Luis Suarez opening goal was greeted with a huge cheer; it was the same when Wayne Rooney equalised. Suarez eventually collected a second (and winning) goal – but watching the fixtures as part of a crowd in an excited and nervous atmosphere is probably the nearest thing to being there!
Irish people can hark back to the days of Italia ’90, the World Cup in the US (1994) and the tournament in Japan & Korea (2002) for precious memories. Packed bars, unbelievably energetic and passionate performances – such adventures that we will surely experience those days once again in the future.
In the meantime, it’s a wonderful thing to be able to head to your local and know that all games of the 2014 tournament will be shown live on big screens (outdoors as long as the sun keeps appearing in our sky!), and indoors with some live music on the side for the entire duration of the competition.
To assist celebrations, the Crane Lane has a decent offer in place to help your pocket: buy two pints of draught and get a 3rd free for all matches before 11pm. This money saver kicks off a half hour before KO and ends a half hour after (including half time, extra time and penalties), and is followed by live music and a DJ until the early hours every night.
One of the more interesting discussions overheard by yours truly on Thursday night was a chat about which of the Craft Beers available at the Crane could represent which of the countries involved in the tournament. The Purgatory Pale Ale was marked down as England immediately, while the seriously smooth MiDaza stout was assigned to Germany. Sunbeam Pilsner brings some light sparkle so sure it is surely Costa Rica and the Netherlands were lined up with Stowford Press Westons Organic Cider – because when they’re good, they’re really, really good – much like the excellent quality of this particular cider!
We’re only halfway through the group fixtures at the moment so there’s still plenty of time to get down to the Crane and enjoy the festival of football (and fun!) for the second round games, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final!