It was awful, that blinding moment when France wrenched over the line and won the Six Nations, as Irish supporters worldwide looked down into their pints of Guinness. What might have been?
If we’d known it would come down to points and an under-performing England might just beat France, would we really have messed around agaist Scotland and only won by a point? Or would we have had the sense to kick the ball out against Italy and not keep fighting and allow Italy to score?
23 years, no championship. We’ve got the Triple Crown shield again, but we virtually own that now don’t we?
It all went wrong against France at Croke, without the influence of O’Driscoll and Stringer – we got stung and landed France a 20-17 win on their route to a grand slam.
So what does the World Cup hold?
The only route through to success would appear to be beating the current Six Nations Champions (yes, that’s France for anyone that missed it!) at home in Paris to top the group and avoid a likely draw against New Zealand in the second round (last World Cup they beat us 43-21).
On top of that Argentina are also in Group D, we don’t see them play often enough to consider what they might be up for – but you can guarantee they won’t come lying down.
If ever there was an Irish side ready to take this on, it’s this one. O’ Driscoll, O’Connell, O’Gara, Stringer, Horgan, Darcy and Dempsey must step up and shine on the world stage, as the true world class players they are.
By the time 2011 and the next World Cup comes round most of these world class players will be watching from the stands or the TV studio – this really could be their one chance to do this! Come on boys, get one over on France in September!