Posts Tagged ‘ Ronan O`Gara ’

Six Nations 2015 – The Old Enemy

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Dual blogged on I’m Talkin’ Here

There is no sweeter victory for an Irish rugby team than one sealed over England; 800 years and all that. Geoghegan, Horgan, Gaillimh, McLaughlin – through the years this fixture has had a tendency to turn players into legends of the game. It barely needs to be discussed but a litany of (sporting) history explains why. Continue reading

Heineken Cup – Munster Finish Their Heineken Cup History On A Low

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“Not with a bang, but a whimper”. The words of T.S Elliot may seem a somewhat harsh reflection on the weekend’s rugby, but for two teams like Munster and more significantly Clermont to bow out of the competition’s final ever incarnation in such fashion was deflating at best. Munster can take heart from the fact that they lost to the best and that they were at least extremely close to functioning fully, whereas Clermont will only be too happy to close the door on the competition that has caused them such mental anguish over the years, in the hope that the new Championship brings more prosperous times. Continue reading

Heineken Cup – Scramble For The Quarter Finals

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So it’s here, the final weekend of the 2014 Heineken Cup pools stages, Brian O’Driscoll’s final European bow in the RDS, and who knows what other finals this could wind up being as the European rugby situation still sits in utter turmoil. But enough of that, for now there’s a serious amount of permutations and predictions to get through.
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Irish Rugby Review 2013

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The November series of 2012 led us into 2013 with a mixed bag of expectations, hope and a real feel of not knowing where Irish rugby was going. There was a sense that change was on the horizon, Declan Kidney was in charge of an ageing team but there were signs of talented youth on the periphery. South Africa were the first of the visiting nations and in a tight game they just did enough to keep Ireland from claiming a win. A scoreline of 16-12 suggested as much but it was a game that Ireland should have and could have won. The courageous performance of nearly winning was now becoming a bit too regular and the fans were becoming somewhat impatient, good performances no longer enough to keep them happy. The following week, an uncapped Ireland XV played host to Fiji in Thomond Park. It was a game that although one-sided, I as an Irish rugby fan, thoroughly enjoyed. Continue reading

Black Magic – Ireland Braced For New Zealand Battle

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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

End Of An Era As O’Gara Hangs Up His Boots

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Any regular readers of our rugby coverage here will know my feelings towards Ronan O’Gara over the last two years have been, to put it mildly, harsh. Whilst I would never dream of backtracking for the sake of bandwagon hopping, I will say that with the weekend’s news of his retirement, this is no longer the place for lambasting of him and it is only right that with his decision made we look back on his absolutely stellar career. O’Gara is the first high profile retirement of the so called Golden Generation, though I don’t say that to take away from the likes of Horgan, Flannery, Wallace and others. Where he differs from these stalwarts is that for the best part of ten years, he served with no alternative.
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Ulster’s Heineken Cup Dream Ends Whilst Mighty Munster Return

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It really is a funny old competition the Heineken Cup. A few months back, Ulster and Harlequins were shoe ins as the top four teams in the tournament, Ulster unbeaten, Quins as good as. Yet here we are with the Quarter Finals played, both teams knocked out in comprehensive losses. In the meantime Leinster showed the Heineken Cup what it is missing in their stunning win over Wasps, in what certainly ranks as one of the best games of the weekend from a spectators perspective.

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Changing Of The Guard Upon Us – Six Nations 2013

bodOut-halves, bans, injuries; it has been a repetitive campaign for the Irish rugby team. A rousing opening win against the bug bears Wales, two horrifically deflating defeats against England and Scotland, all brings us to this penultimate weekend, France in Dublin, usually an occasion for dreaming, the “we can do this” weekend for Irish rugby fans. Yet with the quite frankly dour humour surrounding national rugby at the minute, coupled with the demoting of Brian O’Driscoll, the omission of Ronan O’Gara and many other things, this weekend’s match seems like a chore to be honest. But still, there’s rugby to be played, and watched, so let’s see what to be on the lookout for. Continue reading

Knives Are Out For Kidney & Co. – Six Nations 2013

jhIn any sport, when the same management is kept in place for too long, a shocking day is required in order for it to become blindingly obvious to everyone that changes are needed. The Irish soccer team had Saipan. The Irish rugby team has now had their Murrayfield. Last year’s Six Nations saw Ireland beat Scotland and Italy and draw against France, a game that may as well have been a loss. The most recent tournament to yield such a poor outcome before this was 2008, but most agreed that Ireland had at least shown enough attacking prowess and potential last year for it not to be a Six Nations wasted. Something tells me that come the end of the 2013 competition, opinions won’t be the same. Now staring down a next to impossible challenge from France in two weeks, even though they are at nearly a worseimpasse to Ireland, Declan Kidney’s men actually face the very real possibility of ending this tournament with the wooden spoon, a final day fixture in Italy likely to be the decider of that one. Something is wrong, something has to be done, and you feel that this year another dismal Six Nations will be one step too far for the fans to follow and as a result the IRFU will have their hand forced. Continue reading

Biggest Risk Of Kidney’s Tenure Will Pay Off

pjIt’s as though Declan Kidney could sense the deflation in the Irish rugby supporters. After a dire showing against England, the Grand Slam dream disappearing, morale was low, and that was just the support. What better way then to elevate spirits than with the surprising and exciting inclusion of Paddy Jackson from the start against Scotland, the young Ulster out half relegating Ronan O’Gara to the bench. Now many have come out of the woodwork with two principle objections, that Madigan is the better choice and that Jackson can’t hack the pressure. To the first suggestion I will say I agree but Madigan simply hasn’t enough top tier rugby in the position to his credit. Rest assured that starting next season as Leinster’s principle out half will change that but Jackson is simply more experienced. To the second argument, which most use last year’s Heineken Cup final as an example of, I say whisht your noise. O’Gara had a stinker against England in the Grand Slam tournament in 09, Sexton had an absolute mare of a World Cup two years ago. It happens. Continue reading