Sunday, 22 March 2009

Ireland: Rugby Six Nations Grand Slam Champions

They never make it easy for us but finally Ireland have won the Grand Slam Rugby Six Nations and laid to rest the burden of 61 years of trying. This is a team that has threatened and never quite reached its potential until yesterday in the Millenium Stadium. In a fantastic, no holes barred, bone crunching, gut wrenching, conflict between the two best teams in the tournament the result was on a knife edge until the final kick. It looked as if Ireland had choked once again when, with no time on the clock, they gave away a moronic penalty only to see the kick drop short. The final whistle blew and it was all over.

The first half was a tense battle and when the break came Wales were 6 points up despite constant Irish pressure. Yet again in this tournament it looked like indiscipline and penalties would decide the outcome. Then in the opening exchanges of the second half Ireland blitzed two tries; the first from O'Driscoll who seemed determined to win this match on his own if necessary and the second from Tommy Bowe sprinting on to an O'Gara kick. Surely in this position Ireland couldn't blow it but they tried. Point by point, penalty by penalty Wales came back and eventually took the lead. Then with little time left Ireland gained a crucial lineout and after manouvering position the ball was fed back to O'Gara for an exquisite drop goal. The game was won until Ireland gave away a needless penalty just inside their own half. Stephen Jones seemed destined to rob Ireland at the last but as the kick sailed towards the posts the tragectory indicated that it was too short. The final whistle blew and the whole of Ireland roared in jubilation and not a little relief.

Come the day and come the hour the boys held their nerve and delivered a fabulous victory. Many will have secured their place in the British Lions tour of South Africa this summer, none more so that Brian O'Driscoll who must be made captain again after his nightmare Lions tour of New Zealand.

Wales 15 Ireland 17. Will the Irish economy recover from the massive hangover that awaits once the celebrations have died down in a few weeks time: Who knows and Who cares?

Honourable mention must be made of the England Women's Cricket Team who have just won the Cricket World Cup to show the men how it should be done. Andy Murray continues to give us hope after beating Roger Federer in the tennis. All this softened the blow of a miserable afternoon for Man Utd who seem determined to make me sweat until the last kick of the season. Get a grip Sir Alex and give Rooney, Scholes, Ronaldo and the other headless chickens a taste of the hairdryer treatment before they completely blow the championship.


Tim Goodbody said...

A Fergie hairdryer would make ronaldo catch fire as he has so much gel in his barnet

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Rugby Tours said...

It would be awesome to take 6 Nations holidays. Thanks for sharing!