17 September, 2011

Time to consign 1991 to history as Ireland record greatest EVER Rugby World Cup win:

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Star Man Cian Healy (right) & fellow forwards led from front
            I try to avoid writing about "sexy" stories on this blog and this story definitely comes under the heading "sexy" if you are Irish.  However, I simply must write an article about this.  Having been written off by just about everyone (except my friend, Aaron Buckley who told me that I "know jack about rugby" last night);  this Irish side produced a performance for the ages for the Irish to overcome the Tri Nations champions.  
            It has to be said that the Wallabies were hit with late blows when their world class flanker David Pocock was ruled out, shortly preceded by monster hooker Moore; also withdrawn through injury.  However, Ireland were missing players too (most notably David Wallace) and should have scored at least one try today as well as missing a few kickable penalties, so the scoreline actually flattered the Antipodeans.
The ever honest O'Gara: emotional after famous victory
             In a preview of this game; former World Cup player Neil Francis stated:  "This Irish rugby team owes the Irish people nothing.  They do owe themselves a great World Cup though because it's the one stage that they have not, as yet, performed on."  Oh, how this Irish side performed today.
              Ireland were led from the front with Cian Healy Man of the Match in the front row and of course Brian O'Driscoll providing a captain's example.  Fly half Ronan O'Gara came on 10 minutes into the second half and it was ultimately his kicking which kept Ireland on the front foot in this game.
Party time in Auckland as Irish players and fans celebrate final whistle
Ireland's 1991 World Cup epic can now be consigned to history
"It's a great day to be Irish.  We're a very proud country.  Let tonight be the starting point, not the finish point," - an emotional O'Gara said after the game.  "This is a standard well above the Heineken Cup or Munster/Leinster games.  I got a text from Sonia O'Sullivan before the game.  Sometimes we don't realise how lucky we are," - said the Cork man with tears in his eyes.  There are plenty of challenges still ahead for this Irish side in the coming weeks but with performances like today's there will very likely be more tears shed in the weeks - or possibly - month to come.  A great day to be Irish indeed.
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