There is no denying that Croke Park is an impressive venue. I haven’t been there all that often. I don’t remember who was playing for my first visit, but I do remember being asked if anyone had asked us to carry anything into the stadium. It must have been a Sligo game as Dad took us, though I’m not too sure when Sligo would’ve made it to Croker before. My last visit there was for the International Rules, and really, the less said about that the better. ;) My ticket was for the Cusack Stand. Upper tier. So plenty of steps to be climbed, but you get a great view of the surroundings.
We had a great rendition of AmhrÃ¡n na bhFiann and Ireland’s Call. I’m still not sure about Ireland’s Call It sounded great on Sunday, but often it sounds shite, maybe it needs the numbers singing it, or maybe we just aren’t comfortable singing it yet. Whatever, it was great. And yes, the French thingy sounded grand too.
But the match itself didn’t really go to plan. France came out all guns blazing, and the ref had issues with his mic tugging as he ran, nothing like listening in to the ref’s mic is there? Still Ireland never panicked, and although errors were made, there were also some wonderful moments. Boss charging down a kick and the sudden hint of a try. Murphy’s wonderful interception to prevent a definite try for the wrong side. But at half time it was France in the lead. And a deserved lead. We were lucky two be only to points behind. And O’Gara’s kicking out of hand wasn’t great. Does he just miss Lansdowne?
Second half and it was almost a reversal, but we couldn’t get the scores, although I think we deserved them. I’m not going to moan about the lack of advantage played by Walsh when Murphy would have scored. Nor about Horan being tackled without the ball. Swings and roundabouts as they say.
Still we went in front, only a point, but still. Victory was within our grasp. And then that lineout, and maul. And a penalty. And we went four in front. With two minutes to go. But we had a problems with the the restarts all day, and before we knew what was what the French were over the line. And with no time left for us to do anything.
So that is it, our Grand Slam dreams over, and only a faint possibility of winning the championship. We gotta hope France slip up and that we win the rest of our games. But this should have been our year.
I’m a fan of Eddie O’Sullivan’s, but I think he messed up bringing Horgan in from the wing. I would have played Trimble in the centre and left Horgan in his usual position. He was just back from injury, and expecting him to slot in and play like BOD was unfair.
There is still England to play at home and then we’re away, travelling to play Scotland and Italy. Fingers crossed that we have no more injuries, and that O’Driscoll is back quickly. And that O’Gara’s ankle injury is the nothing they are all making it out to be.
There are more photos on flickr but they aren’t great quality, too far away. I need a shiny new camera. And also, tickets to the Ireland V England match would be lovely, you know, if you have any to spare.