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Remembering Ireland's Toughest Win And Our Farewell To The Greatest

Remembering Ireland's Toughest Win And Our Farewell To The Greatest
By Michael McCarthy

Sometimes with the passage of time, you forget the little things.

Four years ago today, Ireland beat France in Paris to secure the Six Nations Championship. It was also Brian O'Driscoll's last game for Irleand. We all remember that.

What you forget are the details.

Like the fact it was one of the most emotionally exhausting games we've ever seen. And not just for the players. Watching the game was an absolute battle of endurance.




Ireland hadn't beaten France since the Grand Slam in 2009 at Croke Park. The last two games between the two teams had been a draw. Ireland just needed a win of any kind to win the Championship on points difference. Any less and it went to England.


You might remember that Johnny Sexton scored two tries and scored 17 points. You forget he missed a couple of makeable kicks and went off injured with over 10 minutes to go, meaning the game was in the hands of a very inexperienced Ian Madigan for the crucial final minutes.


You remember that Ireland were hanging on in the end, but you forget they hand the game well in hand entering the final quarter.

You forget that Steve Walsh gave a try to France instead of going to the TMO after a clear knock-on, meaning they were back in it, two points behind, and Ireland were just a kick of the ball away from defeat.

You forget that Jean-Marc Doussain missed a relatively simple kick to put France ahead in the last ten minutes.


You remember that France had a late try disallowed for a forward pass. You forget that the decision from the TMO took forever, and we had convinced ourselves we were going to be robbed of the victory.

You forget that Ireland won it with a turnover from a choke tackle. The perfect way to end a title winning campaign, with the team's signature move.

You remember it was O'Driscoll's last game, but you forget he was also man of the match for the second week in a row.


He got emotional in his interview with RTE after the game. You remember he had made his name in Paris 14 years before, but you forget he hadn't won there again until his last game for Ireland. You forget that Ireland had one in Paris once since 1972, and before that, since 1952.


You remember that Ireland had won a Grand Slam five years before, but you forget this was O'Driscoll and Ireland's second Championship win since 1985. Ireland didn't win Championships and they didn't win in Paris. This was a big, big deal.

This year, Ireland, Johnny Sexton and Le Drop managed Ireland's second win in Paris in three games, but our fourth time in 65 years. That's why Ireland don't win Grand Slams in even numbered years. At least until now...

If you're so inclined to spend a couple of nervous hours watching a famous Irish win from four years ago to set yourself up for a famous Irish win this weekend, you can watch the whole match with RTE's coverage below.


SEE ALSO: Beating England Week: Ireland's Glorious History Of Denying English Grand Slams

SEE ALSO: Beating England Week: How The English Media Reacted To Ireland's Shock Euro 88 Victory

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