Mark Moynihan leapt atop the barstool on which he had anxiously perched and screamed aloud his joy at the Irish beating the All Blacks.

It was O'Hagan's Irish Pub in Auckland and 80-minutes of tension had finally released.

Moynihan stood howling and hollering, fist-pumping the air. His stool teetered slightly - although not as severely as the All Blacks did - but stayed upright.

That is not what Moynihan plans doing today.

Advertisement

Instead, he's planning on a fitting celebrations to mark the end of a 111-year drought. Today is the day Ireland tipped over the greatest rugby team in the world.

"What's this going to do for young lads? Now they have heroes to look up to that beat the All Blacks," said Moynihan, 47, once of Cork in Ireland but now Mangere Bridge.

"I came in on my bike," there's orange juice on the table and a helmet underneath, "so I've got to take my bike home before I get on the piss. And I've got to pick up my winnings!"

He had put $20 down at 80-1 odds and his betting stub shows he's got $1600 to pick up.

"I was going to put a $1000 down," he said. Imagine. "To actually beat them is unbelievable."

O'Hagan's pub wears its green boldly but most of those who had come to the Viaduct Harbour bar wore the black jersey. Those few Irish supporters who did come had turned up with a cheerful confidence that belied a 28-match losing streak.

In contrast, the All Black fans appeared a little more expectant. After all, the team was on a world-beating winning streak.

In the 80 minutes of game time that followed every rugby watcher in the bar travelled a rollercoaster of emotions.

The first half opened up the whisper of possibility and then a try by the Irish in the opening minutes of the second half sent a chill through All Black supporters.

"We were ready to go home at half-time," said Tony Giles, 49, of Auckland's North Shore. "I was texting my wife to come and get us."

With the second half well underway, he was far more optimistic. The All Blacks dominance in the second half of games, the team's fitness and its general unbeatable rugby supremacy had him confidant of an All Black victory with 10 minutes to go.

There was drama, for sure. Once of Dublin but now of Auckland, Brian Gavin's head sank into his hands, peering between fingers to watch the All Blacks tighten up the score. His optimism was at low ebb.

And then victory. Gavin: "For a while it looked like the All Blacks were going to come back and break Irish hearts again. How many generations of Irish men have watched the Irish fall to the All Blacks?"

And Giles, who stayed for the second half? "Ireland fully deserved their victory," said Giles. "They were the better team."

He added quickly: "On the day."