Friday, March 14, 2008

My three greatest 'Irish' moments: in 1st place

In the Autumn of 2003 England won the Rugby World Cup. Or, to be more precise, Jonny Wilkinson had an exceptional run of matches, scored a load of points with the boot and won the Rugby World Cup for England.

Will the rest of us ever be allowed to forget it? No. Never. Not a chance.

Ireland's performance in the 2003 World Cup was a disappointing affair, although we did manage to get to the quarter-finals, where we were fairly comprehensively hammered by the French and that was the end of that.

After their victorious return from Australia with the Webb Ellis trophy, England had met and beaten both Italy and Scotland in the 2004 Six Nations. Both had been away games. Against Ireland, the English Champions were playing at home, in England for the first time since lifting the cup.

The English (and in particular the English press) were buzzing. For weeks before it, the hype was hyped. A carnival was planned for the day of the match, it was arranged that the RAF would do a fly-by, the trophy would be on full display. The papers talked of nothing else, we were reliably informed that God was an Englishman and the word 'champions' was gravely over-used. You could have been forgiven for thinking the English were the only team taking part in the Six Nations that season.

And the Irish sat quietly in the corner, picking the bog out from between their trotters and watching the pig in the parlour.

Saturday 6th March. 4pm kick off.

Now, I usually shout at the TV when there's rugby on, but this day was inordinate. When D'Arcy made his break I remember standing two foot away from the box guldering at the screen. By the time the ball was passed to Howe on the second occasion, I was on my knees on the floor, peeping through my hands, crying. And when I finally drew breath and looked round, my dad was crying, my mum was crying, my hubby was crying, the kids were crying - the whole flippin country was crying!

Final score: England 13, Ireland 19. Fan-feckin-tastic.


Cosmo said...

Fair play, Ali. This was a cracking try. In fact I remember cheering myself...but what has happened to Ireland since? Time for Eddie to go, I think.

I have to say though, when it comes to Six Nations rugby I have my pick: an Englishman born to an Irish mother and who learned to play rugby as a boy in Wales. (I'm quite pleased with the result today actually)

St said...


Dana said...

Well, I wish we could watch those matches here. I love football, baseball even more...I know I would love me some Rugby.

Cosmo - you lived in Wales? Sigh. I am full blood Welsh and my heart has turned Irish.

Such a conflict.

Ali said...

guldering: shouting with all your might at the top of your voice.

Ali said...

Cosmo, so determined were some of the people on our flight to find out the rugby scores, we had the steward ask the pilot to contact the ground to find them out and announce them.

Afterwards we nearly wished we hadn't, but glad for the Welsh that they got the Slam.

PS Are you telling me that it's Monday morning and Eddie hasn't gone yet?? :-(

St said...

Thank you. by the way the word verification today is guzzbfdw which sounds almost as good.