Dublin's newest sports and games bar is hosting an Italia 90 party you won't want to miss

The Back Page in Phibsborough is offering an action-packed day to remember Jackie’s Army, Roger Milla, Rene Higuita and more.

Italia 90 day Back Page

AFTER SUCCESSFULLY HOSTING a sports talk festival in Dublin last year, Trevor O’Shea set his sights on growing it into an event that would cater for 3,000 people at Croke Park.

“The idea was to make it a bigger thing, but in a classic Bodytonic way we ended up opening a pub in Phibsborough instead,” the man behind Bodytonic, The Bernard Shaw, Life Festival and The Twisted Pepper among other projects told The42 this week.

Located on the Phibsborough Road between Doyle’s Corner and Broadstone, The Black Page (formerly The Red Windmill) opened its doors in October with the aim of providing a proper sports and games bar that also offered good food, craft beers and decent music.

Eight months in and O’Shea can hardly believe how positive the reaction has been.

“I’ve been blown away by the reception,” he says. “It’s not the most obvious location but I know Phibsborough well as I went to DCU and used to live in Drumcondra for years. So there was always that risk as it was a question of would the idea work.

I don’t think a good sports and games bar has been done in Dublin. There are sports bars where they do loads of big plasmas, Budweiser, chicken wings and all that shite, but we did it in a slightly different way.

“We don’t set out to support a football club and we’re more likely to have Leyton Orient memorabilia or a scarf from the Brazilian league than Liverpool bunting. We try and make it more inclusive than parochial or tribal.”

Back Page beer garden The Back Page's beer garden.

This month marks 25 years since Ireland’s first (and finest) adventure at a World Cup finals. Like many of us, Italia 90 is one early footballing memories that remains close to O’Shea’s heart as it played a major role in shaping his love for the beautiful game.

“I was 12 for Italia 90 so it was the first World Cup that I remember everything about,” he remembers. “It’s funny how vivid the tournament is in my head because I had a VHS cassette tape with the highlights, which I watched until I had worn it out.

You’ve got to remember that in those days there was no YouTube or TV on demand so any good tapes you watched them repetitively.

“Beyond Ireland being involved, it was just an iconic World Cup with Gazza crying, Roger Milla coming out of the woodwork, Higuita and Valderrama at Colombia, Maradona and Caniggia for Argentina. Just all these things. They don’t make World Cups like that anymore, that’s for sure.”

Back page pub Craft beer and fussball: What more could you ask for?

On 27 June, The Back Page is planning an entire day dedicated to the 1990 World Cup. Retro jerseys, naff wigs and dodgy moustaches are encouraged for the celebrations, which will see match highlights of several games shown.

There will also be a screening of Roddy Doyle’s classic The Van, a tribute to the late Billy O’Herlihy, penalty shootouts and keepy-uppie competitions, as well as anthems from the year played by their resident DJ Tom Beary.

It kicks off at midday and there is no admission charge or tickets needed. For more information on the event, visit their Facebook page

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Click here for more of The42’s commemorative coverage >

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