Last Saturday saw arguably the best performance ever by an Ireland rugby team against New Zealand, the current rugby world champions. While the scoring was low at 16-9, for Ireland it was undoubtedly a hugely exciting game to watch. Our preparation for the rugby world cup next year could not be any better. Let us hope that they haven’t hit their peak too early!
It was very hard to pick a player on the Ireland team that didn’t play well. None of them could have given much more. O’Mahoney deservedly received his man of the match award. Jacob Stockdale scored a brilliant try and even when he made a small mistake during the game, he was able to redeem himself almost straight away.
When some of the players such as Rory Best, Devin Toner, and Cian Healy were taken off; Ireland has such depth now that they could bring on the likes of Joey Carberry, Iain Henderson, and Joe McGrath in their place.
Before the game started, I would have been happy with a good performance by the Irish team as we were without players such as O’Brien, Murray, and Henshaw. But Ireland did much better than that and deserved their win against the All Blacks. It was lovely hearing the ‘Fields of Athenry’ because we were winning, as opposed to losing as we saw happen to the Republic of Ireland team in Euro 2012.
After a great weekend for rugby, there was barely a whimper after Ireland got relegated from the UEFA Nations League competition. I don’t ever remember in my lifetime, a Republic of Ireland team performing so badly in any competition and I’m going as far back as 1988. The question is, where does Irish soccer go from here? We’re going to get a change in management. I personally don’t think that’ll make any difference. We don’t have the players and there doesn’t appear to be a huge number of good players coming up. All they can play for now is pride.
Strokestown losing in the relegation play-off against St Croans in the O’Rourke cup was a disappointing end to the weekend. We can only hope that Strokestown can play to their true capabilities next year and that it won’t just be rugby that we’re talking about.
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