In Greek mythology, Sisyphus, being punished for his deceitfulness, was compelled to roll a boulder uphill for eternity only to watch the rock slide down the slope every time he reached the summit. If you want to similarly creatively chasten an Irish person, you could arrange that they must watch the frantic denouement to Ireland’s 2014 Six Nation’s campaign over and over without ever getting the relief of Steve Walsh’s final whistle.
It’s one of the oddities of sport that high stakes occasions like the one we saw on Saturday in Paris (for the invested viewer anyway) is probably one of the least enjoyable experiences there is. The wait while Walsh tried to find any reason to allow France’s late score in the corner was particularly tortuous. Nerves ruin the experience of actually watching the contest. With that much on the line, it’s all about the pay-off once the right result is secured.
The final weekend of the Six Nations has certainly left a bitter taste in every Irish supporter’s mouth, especially on a day like St. Patrick’s. It has been a season of missed chances and bad timing. A penalty given away in the dying moments against the Welsh, and two line-out mis-throws within fifteen metres of the French line late in the game, led to a loss and a draw against the ‘big’ teams in the tournament. If the English match had been a win or at least a tight game, the prevailing attitude would no doubt have been one of mild encouragement in building towards the New Zealand summer tour. Unfortunately that was not the case and ‘Eddie O’ Sullivan Syndrome’ has once again become the biggest obstacle towards seeing whether our country’s best in form players can compete internationally. As sacrilegious as it would have been to mention it last season when Seán O’Brien was running over defence’s singlehandedly, no one should be immune from being dropped if they are no longer the best player in their position. More so for Gordon D’Arcy, a man who has not stood out in an Ireland jersey for at least a season and is finally showing his lack of size when O’ Driscoll isn’t standing outside him.
Sport can so often be cruel but few could argue that Leigh Halfpenny’s penalty in the dying minutes at the Aviva Stadium yesterday didn’t bring about the right result. The Welsh demonstrated a similar dominance that brought an end to Ireland’s World Cup dreams back in Wellington, and it begs the question whether Declan Kidney will ever accept the failings within the Irish system and attempt to bring about change?
It was a credit to Ireland’s heart and determination that for long periods an unlikely win was very much in their own hands. A ‘w’, however, would have masked the shortcomings that this team has displayed for far too long. Once again it seems that this Irish side is harder to get off than get on.
Match Report Of The Rugby World Cup Third Place Play Off Between Wales and Australia.
Welsh hopes for a good start to this third place play off did not survive very long after the starting whistle. The intensity that Australia showed at the beginning of and applied throughout the match had the lack lustre Welshmen on the back foot from the get go. O’Connor showing himself in the opening minutes with a good run, Quade Cooper however damaged his own team’s advancement with a knock on ten metres from the opposition’s try line.