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Balls Remembers: The Longest 75 Seconds In Irish Sporting History

Balls Remembers: The Longest 75 Seconds In Irish Sporting History
By Conor O'Leary
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77 minutes and 27 seconds

Irish rugby had been here before. Minutes away from a historic victory. The defeat to New Zealand four months previous was still raw. Ireland had been the better side and should have been out of sight. They were still leading and had control of the ball. Then New Zealand got the ball.

There wasn't a rugby fan anywhere in Ireland that wasn't thinking about that minute. That one long minute. The minute that New Zealand broke our hearts and denied Ireland their first win over New Zealand since rugby was invented. Even referee Steve Walsh mimicked the referee from the New Zealand heartbreak by blowing his whistle.

Penalty to France.

78 minutes and 15 seconds

France go wide left. They have a four man overlap. Irish hearts are in their mouths. The Six Nations dream is hanging by a thread. This couldn't happen again could it?

78 minutes and 24 seconds

Jamie Heaslip takes Maxime Medard down just metres out from the line. If we can just hang on here.

78 minutes and 29 seconds

Brian O'Driscoll shoots up, but Huget does really well to get the ball out of his hands. France have a two on one against Dave Kearney. They are going to score. Irish heads slump

78 minutes and 30 seconds


78 minutes 35 seconds

Why hasn't the referee blown the whistle? That ball has gone forward. Surely. Hopefully.

78 minutes 48 seconds

Time is off. The tension clock starts.


Ireland's Six Nations comes down to this. Brian O'Driscoll's fairytale farewell hangs in the balance. How can our greatest ever player retire with just one Six Nations Championship to his name?

16 seconds

Replay is coming. Please be forward, please be forward.

20 second

Relief. It's forward. We're going to get away with this one.

54 seconds

Does it leave his hands forward?

This crazy momentum rule is going to hurt us. When did forward passes start allowing for momentum? Why this is a new rule? Why is this decision taking so long? It's clearly forward, don't let it be like this.

75 seconds

That's 75 long seconds. That's the longest 75 seconds any Irish fan will ever experience. The longest 75 seconds in Irish sporting history. Longer than the 75 seconds after 80 minutes that New Zealand took to break our hearts the previous November. The 75 seconds where the collective heart health of the country reduced significantly. Stress levels reached an all time high. Then the sweetest six words said in a Kiwi accent we've ever heard.


Forward pass mate, I've got it.

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