WITH EURO 2012 fever bubbling out of every crevice in County Limerick this week, one Newcastle West publican has decided to put his heart before his head in supporting the boys in green on their Polish adventure.
Gearoid Whelan, who runs Whelan’s Bar on Church Street with his father Pat, has completely transformed the pub ahead of Ireland’s first game of the tournament against Croatia this Sunday.
Not content with painting the entire outside of the bar the colours of the Irish flag, Gearoid has renamed the pub ‘Glenn Whelan’s Bar’ for the duration of the tournament, in honour of Giovanni Trapattoni’s unsung midfield dynamo.
To top it all off, the pub has promised to let patrons toast Ireland’s success with a special ‘happy hour’ if and when Ireland start firing in the goals.
“Myself and a friend of mine, Stephen Hurley, just got a bit of a notion and decided to paint the whole place”, Gearoid said.
“If Robbie Keane scores against Croatia, I’ll give everybody in the pub a free pint. If Kevin Doyle scores in the next game, everyone gets a free pint, and it’ll be the same if Glenn Whelan scores in the last game. “It’s 24 years since we were in it. It could be 24 years before we’re in it again”
Gearoid, as confident an Ireland fan as you could hope to meet, didn’t baulk when asked how he thinks the team will do. “I tell you, I honestly think we can get to the final. I’ve looked at the draw, and I think we can do a Greece on it.”
When asked if he would be offering any special promotions if Ireland do defy the pundits and make it out of the group in their first appearance since 1988, Gearoid didn’t hesitate.
“If Ireland make it to the quarter final, I’ll sell all drinks at 1988 prices. It’ll probably bankrupt me”.