Six Nations. France 20 — Ireland 22

Yes, I know.

This is only the second time in 42 years that Ireland beat France at home.

It’s only the second time we’ve won the Six Nations.

I know.  I know.

Brian O’Driscoll, possibly the greatest player ever,  was ending his international career  in the same place where he burst onto the world rugby scene with three amazing tries when he was barely more than a kid.

Ireland Six Nations

That’s all true, but what’s a State broadcaster to do — continue coverage of a spectacular national sporting achievement, or cut it short and switch to Goldfinger?  Well, that’s RTÉ for you.  No point disrupting the schedules when a 50-year-old Bond film needs to be shown.  Again.

Great, isn’t it?  That’s it from us here at Stade de France.  You’re probably sick of all this euphoria anyway, so now we’ll hand you over to an ancient misogynistic parody that you could probably buy for fifty cents in any charity shop.

Oh well.  What are you gonna do?

After you’ve finished biting lumps out of the TV, there’s little option but to sit back and enjoy the absurdity of the programming decision that has you laughing at the most hackneyed lines in filmic history.

No, Mister Sexton, expect you to score.

And in fairness to Jonny, he did, though not in the way we might expect, running in two fine tries but missing two kicks that my Auntie Bridie might have managed in her good high heels and handbag.  We shouldn’t laugh at Jonny, but we do anyway and it’s not a Munster thing, even though ROG has those nerves of steel that Jonny lacks in moments of extreme psychological pressure.

As the game progressed, my beloved daughter announced that we were all going to be rich. It’s true, she said.  All we have to do is buy thousands of those inflatable things you can’t knock over and put his face on them.

It’s not Jonny’s fault that he looks like he was craned out of a protein-rich growing-tank half an hour ago, all pink and slithery, without a single line or crease.  That’s not his fault, and yet, so many people think he has an eminently punchable face.  Isn’t that awful?  How shallow are people?

It’s not as if ROG is any sort of oil painting, but at least he doesn’t look like he’s been fitted with the latest human-like synth-skin.  And the manufacturers worked harder on realistic facial features.  Jonny Sexton looks like the sort of kid who wouldn’t share has sweets, while Ronan just looks like Father Dougal with that vacant stare and fixed grin when he looks at the camera.

But enough silly, flippant piss-taking.  Instead, let’s have some silly bragging.

You see, I’m usually wrong about most things, including sport,and I rarely call the outcome of a contest correctly, but this time, somehow, I thought Ireland could do it, and I’ve stuck my neck out on it since the start, telling anyone who’d listen that Ireland could win in France.

Why?  Because technical skill is no longer the issue.  Fitness and strength are no longer factors.

In years gone by, I can remember a time, as most others can too, when the best we hoped for was a good first half followed by a small margin when they beat us but that was then and this is now.  What did the Irish lads take with them to France today?  Yes, it was professionalism and yes it was skill.  True, it was determination and athleticism and strength but they’ve done that before and they’ve lost.

Today, they had belief.  That’s it.


What about this great team, though? Who could not have felt an upwelling of manly tears as BOD celebrated perhaps his finest, climactic moment?  Who could be unmoved by D’Arcy’s messianic beard?  Who could not have shouted YEAH! as Paulie reached into the ruck and said, I’ll have that ball, thank you very much?

Should I go on?  I’ll go on.  Who could not have screamed their hands off as BOD shattered the gain-line and Conor Murray ghosted through the French defence before offloading for the sweetest of tries from Andrew Trimble?

Who could not have felt for these guys as a repeat of the New Zealand game loomed?

Ah come on.  Not even the most committed unbeliever could fail to be swept away on the emotion of this amazing day.  True, it’s not 2009 again.  It’s not the Grand Slam, but it’s the greatest player ever, book-ending his career with two magnificent wins in Paris and, you know, it doesn’t get any sweeter than that.

You just had to look at the demeanour of these lads as they carried the trophy around the stadium to recognise that this is a remarkable, decent, ego-free bunch of guys who deserve every last inch of our respect.

BOD didn’t end his career with a try, but I’m betting he cares not one jot and neither do I.

A great day for Irish sport and a great day for one of Ireland’s greatest sportsmen.

Personally, I contributed nothing to this victory, but to those who scoffed when I told them we’d win this match, I say, Hey, wasn’t it great?


8 thoughts on “Six Nations. France 20 — Ireland 22

  1. Wasn’t it great? Absolutely. Uncle Joe seems to to be able to do something that with the team that certainly Eddie O’Sullian could never do throughout his tenure, that is to believe that the can do it but also give them the kind of systems of play that would enable it to happen.

    Look at the transformation of Andrew Trimble under his tenure. Once an ‘also ran’ for Ireland, Trimble produced a phenomenal performance in a green shirt the likes of which he had not done prior to yesterday.

    Brian O’Driscoll is a legend (we all know that) but RTÉ giving him the man of the match award was best described by the great man himself as “farcical”. That accolade might better have been given to either Paul O’Connell, Andrew Trimble or indeed Jonny Sexton or Conor Murray.

    This coach seems to have inculcated something new into this squad. It’s difficult to know exactly what this is but it’s not to be underestimated. Let’s not forget, this was always going to be a difficult year’s 6 Nations with the two most difficult games in Twickenham and Stade de France respectively away from home. England have become an excellent young outfit under the stewardship of coach Stuart Lancaster and have been forced to eschew the horrible arrogance they displayed in the 2011 World Cup under Martin Johnson. Yet Ireland came within three points – away from home.

    However, I feel the need to gripe a bit. I know it’s only Joe’s first six nations tournament but I remain somewhat dismayed my the non-inclusion of players from provinces other than Leinster. Today in Paris there were three Munster starters (each one a bolt on), three from Ulster, none from Connaght and nine from Leinster. Worse again was that the bench was seven from Leinster and one Ulster player.

    In fairness, Joe needs more time to study the form and abilities of player from other provinces but let’s be clear, there is hardly the breath of a cigarette paper’s difference between three of those provinces at the moment in terms of form.

    There is a World Cup coming up next year, we need a new 13 and nobody has been blooded yet, With all due respect to David Karney (a decent league player), we need a new 11. Let’s hope uncle Joe starts to look further afield.

  2. It was great – My favourite bit was when Pussy and Bond ejected from the plane at the end and he grabbed her and threw the parachute over them and said to her “oh no you don’t, this is no time to be rescued”..
    Actually that was the only part I saw.

    Fucking RTE cunts. They kept saying all night they were ten minutes behind schedule. Ten minutes, I ask of you.

  3. All I really dont know what you expected RTE to do. I was out for the match so I recorded it on SKY and it went on 35 minutes after the match ended. The SKY recording then stopped but the coverage had not.

    What were you expecting them to do
    – Keep saying the same things over and over
    – Show the match again
    – Drag people in of the street to say what they thought…

    None of those would have been very professional.

    Also Niall – RTE does not chose the man of the match – RBS does .

  4. The man of the match is awarded by the home TV channel. Tony Ward gave it to BOD against Italy, but against France it was awarded by French TV. A nice gesture on their behalf I think.
    Shane Horgan & ROG both praised Trimble to a height and said he would have been their choice.

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