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‘Curse of the All Blacks’ finally broken

Irish fans at the Greytown Hotel celebrate the historic win over the All Blacks.

By Jake Beleski
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The Murphy’s was flowing at the Greytown Hotel yesterday after Ireland ended 111 years of agony against the All Blacks, but one Irish fan nearly missed it completely.
Ireland’s famous victory at Soldier Field in Chicago not only ended their winless streak against New Zealand at 28 matches, but also halted the All Blacks’ world record of consecutive victories at 18.
For Ireland supporter Mark Beatty, the signs that Ireland’s miserable run would continue were there before the match had even started.
“I actually made the mistake of coming to the pub on Saturday, which was quite a funny story. I was so keen to come to the game — basically I was here a day early. It’s lucky I wasn’t a day late.”
There was a genuine belief that this could be the occasion Irish fans had been craving for over a century, he said.
“There was a good feeling from home — we were close last time and there was a feeling that we’ve gotten better as a team. We had the belief — but having 28 games played and never winning — the belief is there but it’s kind of not.”
A dysfunctional set-piece and uncharacteristic handling errors in the face of an Irish onslaught proved too much for the All Blacks to overcome, while Ireland proved they can match it in all areas with the world’s best.
“I think Conor Murray was probably our best player, but I think they performed across the entire pitch — I don’t think there was a weakness there.”
There was a sense of irony that Ireland’s first victory over NZ had been delivered by a Kiwi coach.
“The funny thing is it’s a New Zealander [Joe Schmidt] coaching the side — I think he was interviewed afterwards and he apologised to his mum.”
The hotel’s co-owner, Ursula Murphy, said the local Ireland fans would be celebrating for a long time.
“They’re still here drinking now — Murphy’s is flowing. There’s quite a bit of green going around Greytown at the moment.”
Memories of the All Blacks dramatic comeback in Dublin three years ago, when they ran down a seemingly unassailable 22-7 halftime deficit, ensured there had been no premature celebrations.
“We were doing so well in the first half, but then NZ came back. Even when the clock ticked over to the 80 minutes I was thinking we’ve got to get a try — we had a good crowd here that were cheering and it was absolutely amazing.”
With a rematch only two weeks away in the cauldron that is Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, Ireland have a chance to prove that yesterday’s result was no fluke.
“It was just amazing — unbelievable really. It was always known as the curse of the All Blacks and now it’s broken,” she said.

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