Adios, good night and good luck

Irl v ArgIt was only a few weeks ago that Waffler was writing following yet another ‘glorious failure’ of the Irish team. Yesterday’s performance proved that Irish teams can just fail.

It’s been somewhat of a surreal three weeks in the Irish rugby camp. It started with O’Driscoll attempting to cover up a that massive gash below his right eye by wearing what Prince would call a raspberry beret. Allez! And ended with O’Driscoll picking up a medal from the IRB following the Argentina game. Well, the IRB always said it was the taking part that counted. Although I think the last thing the team wanted was some official coming along saying “Sorry you lost the match, but here’s a little memento for your trip”. The medal will probably be as much comfort to this Irish team as a stick of rock bought on the Aran Islands – they’ll keep it, although where precisely is anyone’s guess. Down the back of the couch in about ten years perhaps?

There is little doubt that Eddie O’Sullivan is not the type of guy to jump ship at the first opportunity. Fortunately for him, the ink is dry on that four-year deal he signed before the RWC. If Eddie were to be sacked, there’s no doubt that the IRFU coffers would have a significant dent in them; money that could be used for Philip Browne’s makeup or the payment to the permanent Lansdowne Road photographer, who always seems to be there as progress rumbles on at the old ground. Nonetheless there have been calls for his head. I genuinely don’t believe O’Sullivan could solve whatever problems faced the Irish squad over the past three weeks. If he couldn’t identify it, even now, then how is he supposed to fix it? Instead, the problems were undoubtedly numerous. The decision not to take first-team players (aka the Untouchables) to Argentina in the summer was a costly mistake. Match practice against opposition the calibre of the South Americans could have done wonders for team morale, whether it were a first or second-string side. Instead, the team went from the St. Patrick’s Day win over Italy to the game against Scotland in August without bumping into each other.

Psychologically, Ireland were a mess from start to finish. Whatever confidence the team had six months ago had evaporated as they looked at each other in unified puzzlement following the defeat to Scotland and the narrow win over Italy. There’s no doubt that internally, there was something amiss. The pack and their key men like O’Connell and O’Callaghan were absent from this World Cup and the atrocious lineouts go to prove that point. These were lineouts that were impenetrable during the Six Nations. As for the line-ups, while Waffler is a huge fan of Eoin Reddan, there was a belief that as Geordan Murphy slid over the try-line in yesterday’s game he must have been saying to himself ‘and I got dropped for what reason?’

But, I think we must find solace as the northern hemisphere teams take a battering from our southern cousins. The argument has been raised, and Waffler agrees, that having the RWC in September/October does nothing to help the Six Nations’ sides who plan to get back into the swing of things after the summer break. The tri-nations teams meanwhile are fresh from their own little song and dance. As to where the Pumas lie in all this? The long grass. They desperately want to get in on the act and their summer performances against a second-string Ireland (one of which Ireland didn’t even score in) counted in only their favour.

Ah, we can as a nation but argue at the state our boys in green have become. And those are my two cents.

Nonetheless, there are some people who will be happy about yesterday’s result:

  1. Some Irish fans: As perverse and all as it seems, Waffler has zilch, nada sympathy for those moaning about buying a ticket for next Saturday’s quarter-final in Cardiff expecting to see Ireland. These exact same people would be moaning if Ireland topped the group and had their quarter-final in Paris. Instead, they whinge at the thought of going to see France v New Zealand. The last time these two teams played in the RWC was in an absolute cracker at Twickenham eight years ago. Those still moaning can send their tickets to Waffler.
  2. TV3: For the acres of newsprint dedicated to their ‘girl on the touchline’ Sinéad Kissane. Nanoseconds after Eddie O’Sullivan had seen his team steamrolled by the Pumas, plucky Sinéad used all her BA in journalism to ask the coach if he would be reconsidering his position. After an initial “Excuse me?” from Eddie, he stared at her like she was that pesky student who had just questioned the merits of the English teacher, and told her “Absolutely not, no! Absolutely not.” Then stared at her a little more before the awkward silence was coupled with an icy chill from Eddie’s demeanor. Sinéad thanked Eddie for his time. Eddie pretty much said good riddance. It wasn’t the first time in the RWC that pesky Sinéad queried Eddie’s superior rugby knowledge. In one exchange prior to the Georgia game he frightfully put down a question from her by telling her ‘I’m surprised you’re even asking me that, Sinéad’, and suddenly their relationship was on the rocks. It would be alright if Gerry Thornley asked the question but Sinéad Kissane? Whoa there! Matt Williams on Setanta called her a “Work Experience girl”. Ask Eddie and I’m sure he’d have a few names for her too.
  3. Elverys Sports: Sport for Life, it may be but their advertisements regarding Ireland’s World Cup run were always a little far fetched. The Irish sports shop proclaimed that a customer who bought an Irish rugby jersey from Elverys during the RWC would be reimbursed if Ireland won the whole thing. Oops. Now is it just me or would Elverys probably collapse if Ireland had won the World Cup?! Each of those jerseys cost upwards of €80 anyway. The shop may have to refund the jerseys anyway, but for an entirely different reason…

For those unfamiliar with the last France v New Zealand game, let YouTube jog your memory. Listen to the commentary and you get the idea…

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~ by waffler on October 1, 2007.

3 Responses to “Adios, good night and good luck”

  1. […] not looking for a career in sports reporting…” Earlier, we were talking about the big showdown yesterday. You remember, two sides baring down on each other and then a massive face-off. it was more like a […]

  2. my friend… my english is very poor… im form Argentina, it was a wonderfull game yesterday… both team gave everything to won… everything… if u say to us GOOD LUCK….”THANKS A LOT” we will need it… PLEASE MY FRIEND DONT BE SOO CRUEL, in 1998 we went to world cup of football in JAPAN… WE DONT PAST THE 1ST ROUND…. were is FOOTBALLL AND FOOTBALLL NOTHING MORE.. ITS HARD TO EXPLAIN THE FEELING, OF HAVING A GRATE TEAM… AND GETTING NOTHING… i know that feeling…. but YESTERDAY i saw the GREAT TEAMS FIGHTING…

  3. Diego, I have full admiration for the Pumas and have no doubt about they will go on to the semi-final at the very least. Ireland were beaten by the better team, and Hernandez for one was magnificent. Diego, I get to see Felipe Contepomi play for Leinster, so I know how much this means to the Argentinians, and world rugby as a whole. The article is but a reflection of how the Irish have reacted to the defeat. Before, there was talk of Ireland getting to the semi-finals but alas, no. Ask anyone in Ireland and they will tell you they have nothing but respect for Los Pumas! Good luck to them! And to you Diego! Thanks for the post.

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