On Saturday’s Rugby game…

Welcome (if short term) return of Tom McGurk to the Sunday slot on RTE. Good interview with Eddie O’Sullivan and then a lively panel discussion afterwards on that match…

  • Poor ould Tommy didn’t even get the opportunity to work up a hagover and he was back on duty. Far, far better than Marianne, but I suppose other people (other than yours truly) like to listen to her.

    Up against Sam Smyth there’s no contest with Marian Finucane, although wee Sammy’s stammering style can get a little infuriating sometimes.

  • This has to be shared: the definitive image of the game on Saturday? I don’t know if I can post it here, but here’s a link anyway.

  • Greágóir O’ Frainclín

    What a game, what a night. Very enjoyable stuff. Croker looked great. The crowds were very sporting.

    O’Connell looks like the incredible hulk in the photo.

  • bo shank

    what a statement about how confident and self assured the Irish people have become. As an englishman i have to say given the history at Croke Park the Irish fans behaved impeccably.

    Contrast this with some of the dicks who follow the England football team around and who chant ‘my grandad bombed your grandad’ and sing dambusters when in Germany and the contrast couldn’t be starker!

  • Bob

    Spot on, Bo Shank.

    I cringe at the WW2 b*llocks that continues to hang around some of England’s football fans (and media) a lot of the time. The dignity and respect that the Irish crowd showed the England team and fans at Croke Park was a lesson to many over here.

  • Bill

    I, too, might work up a hagover but I prefer gorgeous blondes.

  • another_pleb

    The whole anthem thing was a bit of a storm in a tea-cup though.

  • GrassyNoel

    Fantastic day, super result and thankfully no trouble – even if there’ll be some overtime bill for the Department of Justice from the extra amount of Cops on the beat that day to keep the Yobs quiet, it was worth it.

    A tad depressing however that the thread which was opened to discuss the match on Saturday evening has predictably enough been taken over by the usual sectarian bickering but sure what can you do.

    Almost as depressing is the realisation that in reality this team looks like it will never really be able to take the big step up to being world class. Amidst all the euphoria of this ‘new dawn’ bullshit and the hype surrounding Saturday’s match, we are now drowning in a sea of pathetic self-congratulations – just because we managed to ‘put one over on the auld enemy’ blah blah blah.

    How can we still be affording so much importance to this one game and carry on as if nothing happened two weeks ago? That loss to the French was one of the worst moments in Irish sport and I’m personally amazed at how its significance has been lost in the hoopla surrounding the build-up and immediate aftermath of the game against England.

    Actually no, I’m not amazed, not even surprised now that I think about it – it shows us the limit of our true ambitions and where we really imagine our own limitations to be. Once again it’s like ‘yeah, sure we lost the chance to win our first Grand Slam in over half a century but so what – sure the French always beat us anyway, the English game is the important one’ is the mindset I’ve been hearing from all and sundry for the last 2 weeks. What kind of f*cking LOSER mentality is that?

    A number of sports journos in the last fortnight have casually waved off this defeat as ‘bad luck’ and suggested that ‘this just shows how difficult it is to win a Slam’. Oh really? On the other hand I heard someone on the radio last Friday say that we are the only one of the former 5 nations not to have managed one in the last 15 years. And what about Wales in 2005? How in the hell did they manage to pull it off, when I think most people would agree that there is absolutely NO comparing the ability and quality of that team with the Irish team of the last 3-4 years?

    And please, don’t talk about Triple Crowns as if they were anything other than the Carling Cup of International rugby in recent years.

    And do you know what’s going to happen now? When England play France in Twickenham, guess who the great Irish Public will be shouting for?

    I was in a pub in Dublin 3 years ago and England needed to beat France in the last game to stop them winning the tournament outright and make it a 3-way tie between ourselves, France & England at the top of the table with the winner being decided by Points difference. Yet the whole pub was shouting for France. At one stage I turned around to a large group of people behind me and asked them did they realise it would be better from Ireland’s point of view if England won the game. I was told in no uncertain terms where to go.

    I find that absolutely pathetic. These people are so mind-numbingly stupid that they think being patriotic means always rooting for some meaningless hollow moral victory against England, no matter WHO’s playing them, while allowing chances to cover our own nation in glory slip through our fingers time and time and time again.

    And be warned. Gifting the French a Grand Slam and allowing them to carry this momentum forward in a World Cup year – when they themselves are hosting/staging the event – is not advisable and not a mistake to be brushed off as though it was a meaningless result.

    Anyone who thinks they fancy Ireland to beat France in a packed Stade de France in September needs a sharp reality check. Beating Australia and S Africa in autumn tests and thrashing an England side held together with sellotape may make it seem that all is rosy in the garden but it won’t be much help to us when the French let loose with real purpose in Paris.

    We needed that Grand Slam. And we had it in our hands. The French hadn’t managed a score in the entire second half, they were beaten and they knew it. They threw one last roll of the dice and kicked a big hail mary ball towards our 22 more in hope than expectation and lo and behold, they discover that they’re still playing the same old Ireland. The one that should have won its 3rd GS in a row this year, but now will probably finish up never winning anything of real significance.

  • Bog warrior

    GN

    Well said/typed. A load of back-slapping since Saturday evening about giving the English a leathering but not much chat about how the inability to win the re-start and hold onto the ball for two more minutes has cost them the GS. A bunch of gallant losers is what this team seems destined to become. Winning the GS was the platform for the World Cup this year. Ireland still don’t have strength in depth to compete and injuries to key players can mean defeat in big games.

  • Whatever about the general injuries to key players can mean defeat in big games, we are no completely sure that an injury to BOD can mean defeat in big games! It’s not that this is a one man team, but with him in the game, that Ireland 22 has world cup potential. Swap Murphy for Dempsey, Trimble for Hickey, Mick O’Driscoll for O’Callaghan, Flannery for Best, and then in the back row there are a couple of options like Jamie Heaslip and the wild man Best.

    Areas of greater concern are props, Paul O’Connell, half-back and d’Arcy. There is some slack there, therefore; just perhaps not enough. Still, Irish players should be completely controlled by the IRFU in terms of their injuries and preparation from the end of April right through to the start of the World Cup, which augurs well. Unless one of them gets to the Heineken Cup final, which stretches their commitment well into May. Still, even a bad injury should have plenty time to heal before the WC. John Hayes, Marcus Horan, Paul O’Connell, Brian O’Driscoll, and Gordon D’Arcy and the two half backs shouldn’t tour this summer though.

  • Sue

    Unfortunately you were in the wrong pub. The one I was in wanted the three way tie.

  • Aidan

    GrassyNoel, your whole argument that this Ireland team are the same old crowd of chokers is based on the bounce of one ball and a bad tackle. A tad harsh I think, especially as France are about as good as us. They played amazingly in the first 20 minutes and we came back and should have won. I don’t think we’ll beat France in the WC either, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a great Irish team.

  • sean

    England in case anyone has fogottem , have played Ireland before many times at Landsdowne Rd. God Save The Queen was played , and Irish Rugby supporters had never any problem with it whatso ever,and Saturday was proof of that ,in fact it was never a issue. So will some one please explain to me why newspapers like the Pro GAA Irish News, in its editorials had called for Irish rugby fans to show respect for GSTQ, and give the English team a warm wellcome at Croke Park. Surely he should have directed his advice to the few hundred die hard GAA fans and their republican fellow travellers, who for sure would have caused serious trouble on Saturday if their numbers had been bigger. 80 thousand at Croke Park or a full house at Landsdowne Rd the England team would have got the same respect and warm wellcome.

  • Scrum half is as good as it’s going to get. Out half is more of a worry – Paddy Wallace has bags of potential. When has he ever not. But he has too little experience at number 10, even at Magners League level.

    Great as Paddy’s little breaks and jinks are, think about it: 65 minutes into a World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, we are 21-19 up by some miracle. Ronan gets stretchered off the field after a characteristically disgraceful piece of All Black fouling.

    Do you shit yourself, or do you shit yourself?

  • Southern Observer

    Great as Paddy’s little breaks and jinks are, think about it: 65 minutes into a World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, we are 21-19 up by some miracle. Ronan gets stretchered off the field after a characteristically disgraceful piece of All Black fouling
    Do you shit yourself, or do you shit yourself?

    Bring back Humph senior.

  • Donnacha

    “a characteristically disgraceful piece of All Black fouling”

    Yawn. Isn’t it funny that when teams actually beat the All Blacks (not that Irish fans know that particular feeling) they never whinge about supposed cheating. As soon s those teams lose, of course, the All Blacks are evil, demented court torturers. Go on, try singing a different song ffs.

  • Grassy Noel

    I agree with a lot of what you say. This Ireland team should at least have won a Championship by now, if not a Slam. Hopefully our English friends will do us a favour the week after next and beat France (but not by too much, mind), leaving the way open for us to win the Championship.

    We should muller the Scots, but I hope to Christ someone loses that poxy new Triple Crown trophy on the way to Murrayfield.

    I heard recently that one of the reasons Ireland started so poorly against France a couple of weeks ago was because they were afraid of being pinged by Steve Walsh when going for 50/50 ball. He had said earlier in the week that he would have whistled us off the park against Wales, so it’s understandable that players would think twice about going for a ball if they thought that they might cough up a penalty for their efforts.

    Another factor in that loss was the poor player and positional selection by the coach. At one point in the match we had a winger playing in the centre (Horgan) and a centre on the wing (Trimble).

    I think we can beat France in our World Cup pool. This team know they threw that match away two weeks ago and after Saturday, I’m sure would love to have another pop at the French. Plus there is the added incentive that if we top the group, we’ll get Scotland in the quarters. If we come second, we get the All-Blacks and the plane home thereafter. Ireland need to do better than just reach the quarter-finals this time out.

  • sean

    I hear Gerry Adams will be laying a wreath for the slaughter of 15 englishmen in Croke park on Saturday 25th February 2007.

    I know, but I just had to do it!!!!

  • Cheryl

    Shame on the English team. After all that trouble they go and get the words to the Lichtenstein anthem wrong!