First of all, I must offer a hundred thousand apologies for spelling the great Ronan O'Gara's name incorrectly yesterday. Ta bron orm, Ronan, a croi. But onto the games. Well I have to say Italy impressed me in Rome, with their storming confident battle with Wales. And though I should have been cheering my Celtic compatriots to victory, I believe Italy played the better game and deserved to win. Not the form from Wales we have so far experienced, and if they want to stand a chance against MY team, Ireland next week, they better pull their socks up!
At first, when the Scotland/Ireland game started, I could not bear to look at the shambolic shuffling of my heroes. They seemed to have left their brains and confidence in the changing rooms. It was almost like watching paint dry, and I've done enough of that for one week, thank you very much. However, as the first half drew to a close, suddenly, the green shirts were everywhere in defence, and even attack, and the pace was more like it. Though they left the field at half time with 9 points to Scotland's 12, I sensed a stiffening of the sinews and a bit of iron in the blood.
The rugby played in the second half was great, with Ireland showing just how a line out should be done. As for Ronan, bless him, he did it so well under great pressure. The RBS Man of the Match was well chosen; I had already decided he was the hero of the day, little Peter Stringer. What a player! Fast, intelligent, generous and just everywhere. Well done Ireland, and I will be cheering you on while drinking Guinness next week. A little early perhaps, but to everybody out there, Happy St. Patrick's day for tomorrow, 17 March.