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Beating The Boks and 12 Other Unlikely Irish Victories

Beating The Boks and 12 Other Unlikely Irish Victories
By Conor O'Leary
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Ireland's victory over South Africa cam as a shock to South Africans, Irish and others throughout the rugby world. It's a result that wasn't forecast by many, and the manner of the victory will hopefully let Irish people know that Joe Schmidt will have Ireland competitive against any team in the world.

We've shocked the world many times with some unlikely Irish victories throughout our history, and here are a few of our favourites:

1. 2001 v Holland


I'll never forgive my dad for backing Holland to win this game, does he not have any faith in the mighty boys in green? Or was I just a naive kid hoping Roy Keane would lead the boys to victory?

2. 2011 v Australia


I'll always remember the feeling of jumping out of my seat in a pub in Cork when Tommy Bowe intercepted Quade Cooper's speculative flick pass. I was hoarse for a week after this game, and no one saw it coming. Sure, the Australians were so confident of victory that this video also happened.

3. 2007 v Pakistan


Such a shock was Ireland's victory over Pakistan by three wickets in the 2007 World Cup than Pakistan coach Bob Wolmer was found murdered the next morning following the defeat.


4. Darren Clarke's victory in the British Open


At 43, most people thought that Darren Clarke had missed his chance to be a major winner. Clarke had just ended his 3 year win drought. Clarke hadn't finished in the top ten of a major since coming 3rd in the Open all the way back in 2001!

5. 2014 v New Zealand



Ireland hadn't beaten New Zealand in rugby in either gender, and the female incarnation of the All Blacks are even more dominant on the world stage. Such was there dominance that they hadn't lost a World Cup match before this one since 1991. That's a monster 13 years. The day Ireland finally appreciated how good our women's team is.

6. Robert Heffernan's 50km walk Gold at 2013 World Championships



At 35 years old, all Heffernan had to show for his 13 year career was a third place in a world championships. His victory by over a minute in Moscow was Ireland's only medal at those games.


7. 1988 v England


I don't need to tell you how awesome this was. Or how unexpected it was. But when a victory spawns a song, you know you've made it.

8. 2000 v France



Ireland hadn't won in 17 years in Paris. It took a number of inexperienced Irish players to signal the new era of Irish rugby. Where it all started.

9. 2014 v West Indies


In the first of their two T20 internationals, Ireland shocked the T20 world champions West Indies this February. Ireland powered by the total set for them by their Caribbean opponents to stun the cricketing world.


10. Shane Lowry wins the Irish Open as an amateur in 2011


Amateurs aren't suppose to win golf events anymore. It's so rare that on the PGA tour, Phil Mickelson was the last amateur to win a professional tournament all the way back in 1991. It's a little easier and more recent on the European Tour , but since it's inception, Lowry became only the 3rd player ever to win while still an amateur.

11. 1994 v Italy



That Italy went on to the World Cup final, and Irish people haven't stop talking about this game since tells you all you need to know.

12. 2011 v England


The day everyone in Ireland became a cricket fan. Ireland went crazy. We didn't know a huge amount about the sport, or how it worked, just that it takes a while to play with breaks for lunch and tea. Enjoy it all over again.

13. 2014 v South Africa


So few people thought this was possible, given the recent Springbok victory over the All Blacks. Maybe now people will start to trust in Joe Schmidt and realise any game we go into with Joe in charge, Ireland will at least be competitive.


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