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Far Away Fields Are Greener, The Near Ones Are Still Black

nz

Far away fields are greener but today, far away they still remain. The All Blacks were in town, with them they had a box that contained Irish rugby history. That box was open for eighty minutes yesterday before they unapologetically stuffed the history books back in and closed the lid, as we watched on helplessly. I knew walking into the stadium yesterday that it felt different. The crowd were up for it, more importantly the players were really up for it. Sport is cruel, it wouldn’t carry with it the highs and lows that it does otherwise. There is however no sport on the planet that could have had so much at stake during a ‘friendly’. Last week’s display was still fresh in the minds of the home support but they were up for ‘giving it a go’, Irish teams seem to play better for some reason when nothing is expected of them, when a good performance will count as a result. The air was thick as the formalities got underway, if I swung a samurai sword at that point in time, it would have stuck fast in the unyielding thickness of atmosphere. Three national anthems later we were ready for that tradition of all traditions. As far as watching grown men slap their legs and arms in an act of intimidation goes, yesterday’s didn’t weigh in with the threat that it usually carries. It was short and sweet, too short, too sweet. Continue reading

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Black Magic – Ireland Braced For New Zealand Battle

haka

Here’s a prediction for a couple of headlines that may follow Ireland’s meeting with the All Blacks tomorrow. ‘Black Magic’, ‘Men In Black 28′, ‘Every Dagg Has His Day’, ‘Black Beauty’, or maybe just maybe, ‘Black Hawk Downed’. To be honest it’s not looking good for Ireland to beat the All Blacks tomorrow afternoon.

Last week’s demoralising defeat to Australia put the chances of finally turning over a New Zealand side even further from our grasp. This All Black team is a finely tuned machine and has the art of scoring and of stopping the opposition scoring down to a fine art. If Ireland do manage the unthinkable, I will be one of the 200,000 or so that will be at the game to see it. That figure is based on the attendance that said they were in Thomond Park in 1978 to witness Munster beating the All Blacks. We Irish love to be part of history and if a story didn’t grow legs, it would remain just a tadpole in the pond, just like if everyone that said they had a relation in the GPO in 1916 was correct, they would have been falling out the windows. The actual attendance at that game in 1978 was 12,000. The tourists played eighteen games on that tour, winning seventeen, beating the national sides of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, only faltering to Munster, the only Irish side that can claim ever beating the All Blacks. Continue reading

Ireland V Australia : To Dare Is To Do

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It’s difficult to assess how Joe Schmidt is viewing his second test in charge of Ireland. The Wallabies are in town on Saturday evening and with them they bring a severe test of ability and character from the Irish players. The Australian forwards are as hard as Ayers Rock itself, their backs can make flamboyancy look like just a reasonable effort. They are an extremely talented side on their day, off their day, they are ordinary, mediocre even. England showed us that they can be beaten, Italy showed us what happens to teams that let the Aussies play.

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Schmidt Off To Winning Start

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Ireland 40 Samoa 9

To many of those that were involved, it was old hat, been there done that but for debutants Jack McGrath and Dave Kearney, it will be a day to remember for the rest of their lives. The Leinster pair did exactly what they set out to do and firstly made an impression, the latter crossing over the line for two tries and McGrath was awarded the man of the match award, hard to expect much more on your debut. In a game that started as a scrum fest, McGrath must have been the happiest man on the field as he imposed himself on his opposite number, time and time again. There were ten scrums in the first twenty minutes of the game. Dave Kearney, who took to the field as a second half substitute made an immediate impact, finishing expertly a move from the backs that the All Blacks would have been proud of. The other debutant, lets not forget was the new man in charge, Joe Schmidt and he will be delighted to get off the ground with a win, although, there is plenty of work to wade through before the superpowers of Australia and New Zealand run out into the Aviva. Continue reading

Love/Hate : An Alternative Look

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The penultimate series of Love/Hate finished last night with fans somewhat aggrieved that only two mid card characters met a gruesome death.

Here we take a look back at the hit show to date, explaining all amidst the backdrop of the Irish government.

Nigel “Nidge” Delaney – The Taoiseach

So starting at the top of the food chain, we have Nidge. The replacement to former Taoiseach, John-Boy, R.I.P. , who did not get to retire with a state pension. Nidge acts like a boss simply cause he is the boss. As well as the post of Taoiseach he also doubles up as the Minister for Finance. Nidge is a busy boy, agitated constantly from his sheer work load he keeps everything going, allocates finance where necessary and watches the budget with hawk eyes. He, like all bosses , has had to make some big and hurtful decisions so far in his career. He has had to let staff go with a bang to ensure that the State stays afloat. He has had to be ruthless to repel any ideas of him being overturned. He is not a big fan of democracy, he would rather be a dictator. What you wouldn’t say to Nidge, ‘Did you have Darren clipped?’. Continue reading

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