By Kristin Kenneally
CORK, Ireland – There was a buzz about the town as Ireland prepared watch the Irish national team take on Sweden–the first match for Ireland in the 2016 EUFA European Championships (the EUROS).
A few classmates took our books to Costigan’s pub and found a little nook in the back with a perfect view. We had an hour till kickoff, and locals had already begun scoping out spots for the game.
As the game drew near, I ordered a Murphy’s Irish Stout. The local Cork interpretation of Guinness has a smoother taste with hints of malt and caramel. The black stout comes in at 4 percent per volume alcohol in every pint. But before I could take the first sip, an older Irish gentleman leaned toward me.
“It’s a patient beer,” he chastised.
You must let a stout sit to truly enjoy the rich taste and flavor of the Irish classic.
The crowd grew and the pregame analysis reminded Ireland of the heartbreaking 2009 EURO Cup loss; where a handball wasn’t called on France causing Ireland to fall short in the tournament. The announcer’s comparison sparked bar-wide debate in the back of the pub over the proper term of football or soccer.
Shouts back and forth.
“Nah, it’s football.”
Watching the game at Costigan’s was one new sound effect after another. After Ireland’s first goal attempt the bar let out a collective “Ahh,” hoping that the Irish would be able to score early and often. Soon after the missed goal, the Swedish took the ball towards the Irish goal. Keeper Darren Randolph’s save gave all of Costigan’s a huge sigh of relief. The final agonizing “UGH,” was let out as O’Shea’s sliding attempt was just inches away from going into the Swedish goal.
As half time drew closer, I closed my tab. I struck up a conversation about the time I was about to spend in Cork. While turning to leave the man pointed to the ongoing game and told me, “You chose a great time to be in Ireland.”
He couldn’t have been more right.