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Cornflake brigade cheer Ireland on

PUBLISHED: 13:55 01 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:01 03 March 2010

IT was beer - or rather Guinness - with cornflakes at pubs across Ipswich today as football fans flocked to watch the first early kick-off of the World Cup under special licensing arrangements.

By James Fraser

IT was beer – or rather Guinness – with cornflakes at pubs across Ipswich today as football fans flocked to watch the first early kick-off of the World Cup under special licensing arrangements.

Stout constitutions of every kind were on show as Republic of Ireland fans settled down to watch their team play Cameroon.

Punters were especially keen to see how Ipswich's own Matt Holland would fare after the turmoil of the past week which saw the shock departure of the Republic's captain, Roy Keane.

And they were not disappointed. In the 52nd minute, when Ireland were down 1-0, Holland scored a spectacular equaliser. And the cheers went up.

Kitted out in emerald green shirts and extraordinary hats, more than thirty people went to PJ McGinty & Son to sup a few pints as they watched the match – which kicked off at 7.30am!

Belfast-born Jim Keane, who lives in Felixstowe, said it felt "quite ill" to be ordering a round of Guinnesses but said it was "a grand idea" to open up early to show the games.

Michael Collins, landlord of the Northgate Road watering hole, said he was very pleased with the way his invite-only system had operated, although he apologised to anyone who hadn't received one in time.

Some 120 were sent out for the early morning Ireland and England games. The pub is also showing matches involving France and Spain after Mr Collins last month applied for a special license for the duration of the World Cup – a system he thinks should operate all the time.

"Let this be the start so licensing laws to be looked at very carefully so that the public can enjoy themselves whenever they want," he said. "This World Cup is an opportunity for us to prove to the powers that be who control the licensing laws that the system can work."

McGinty's manageress Carol Bolster, who is originally from Cork, was still adjusting to the early rising, however.

"I'm more a late night person," she said. "No complaints yet – but I'll see how I feel tonight."

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