Ireland escape Wales unbeaten

Somehow we made it out relatively unscathed. After 75 minutes of sitting on the edge of my seat, convinced our defense would eventually give in to one of many Welsh probes, I could finally let out a sigh of relief and belt out the Fields of Athenry with the rest of the Irish crowd.

Wales vs Ireland in CardiffI haven’t seen the game on tv, here’s my 2 cents from the live version…

The backline

ROG played a nightmare first 60 minutes, Trimble looked weak under pressure from Jones (sliced everything), Hickie was fairly anonymous, D’arcy was awesome. BOD was strong, Stringer was ok. As a collective, top marks for the defensive work in the line – I don’t know how many tackles they made but I’m sure it’s up there in the top 10% statistically. Apologies to Dempsey but I think Murphy proved in his 10 minutes that he’s 1st choice for #15.

The forwards

Front row held the scrum beautifully! Way to go lads, I’m lovin’ it! I’m not so impressed with R Best’s lineout work , despite his opportunist try – any schoolboy will tell you to make the call on the way to the lineout if you can’t hear the code on successive occasions. Again my doubts about Paul O’Connell have surfaced – my preferred locks are DOC, MOK and POC (in that order). Forwards collectively did trojan work in defense, particularly The Bull from what I recall. Easterby was lucky not to get the yellow, but a penalty try would have been harsh.

The stadium

If you haven’t been, find an excuse to go.  About 8k smaller than Croke Park but a more intense atmosphere because of the smaller playing surface and bigger roof.  This was the most tense game I’ve been to – edge of the seat stuff for 75 minutes. I’ll get my voice back next week sometime. The best atmosphere I’ve been ever been in by a long way… even beating Dublin – Mayo 2006 which says a lot for me. As Tom says, “phew!”.

The people

The Welsh are dead sound, lovely people, and know their rugby. Took the loss well, despite what you might call unlucky (or plain bad) calls from the ref on one or 2 occasions.

The flickr stream

is here. Sorry it’s only 5 or 6 photos and no action – it was too intense. I’ll see if I can recover the video of ROGs conversion off my phone later!