The Steppes Bar, Callan, County Kilkenny
To experience my first European championship soccer match I wanted to go to The Steppes Bar in Callan, known for an amazing atmosphere and two drop down big screens. It’s about a 15 mile trip which took me a little over an hour on my bike. It was well worth the trip despite being chased by three dogs (and nearly caught by one.) At that moment I had been stuck in first gear, but I peddled like a mad man and made it away safely. I had read Tom Coyne’s “A Course Called Ireland” and his similar story about a dog encounter had instantly popped into my mind, so I can’t say I wasn’t forewarned.
The Steppes Owner and Bartender Eddie Kelly in full support of Team Ireland
I arrived about an hour early and caught the end of the Spain vs. Italy game. Fans were already flooding the pub, all dressed in green jerseys, and the official Euro 2012 Republic of Ireland song, Rocky Road To Poland was being played every time the coverage of the match cut away. When the match started the Steppes was packed shoulder to shoulder and even standing room was hard to find. Unfortunately Ireland lost 1-3 to Croatia, but I still had a great time participating along with the rest of the country in a local pub.
Because of pouring rain I will be watching tonight’s match against Spain from my house. At least I won’t have to worry about dog attacks. I can’t wait for the next sporting event I’ll get to catch at The Steppes Bar.
Ireland had another rough match on Thursday as they fell to Spain, 4-0, making it impossible for them to advance past group play. However there is still a chance to spoil Italy’s tournament with a win Monday night. It should be a good match, Ireland hasn’t lost to Italy in the last three meetings and I know they will want to return home with three points.