The buildup to this tonight's Autumn Nations Cup clash against Wales had been fairly mooted, with the loss to France a couple of weeks ago still fresh in the minds.
Ireland supporters were unsure what to think of the new tournament, but one source of excitement was the inclusion of James Lowe in the team.
It feels as though we had been building to this landmark from the moment the New Zealand born winger arrived on these shores just over three years ago. Lowe was almost a presence hanging over the Irish team, especially in the last year or so.
Within a few minutes of kick-off, it was easy to see why his arrival into the squad had been so anticipated.
From the very first minute of the match, it was clear that Lowe was very much up for this one.
Chasing down a box kick in from Jamison Gibson-Park, the winger absolutely nailed Leigh Halfpenny when he caught the dropping ball.
That set the tempo of what was to come.
He very nearly was played in for a try by Johnny Sexton a few minutes later, but the pass was just beyond his reach. When Liam Williams pushed him in the back after the knock-on, Lowe made it clear he wouldn't be messed with.
It was clear very early on that he already makes Ireland an infinitely more entertaining team to watch. The line-break he produced in the 20th minute ultimately led to Ireland's opening try, with the offload to Sexton a thing of beauty.
He was a constant threat on the left wing, with this scoop off the ground followed by a handoff on the Welsh defender while running at full pace was remarkable to watch.
#IREvWAL James Lowe!!! Quality individual and proper left winger. This is sublime, let's ball bounce across body, fend right hand #skills pic.twitter.com/Rhj2LQE0oZ
— Tomas Marks (@TomasMarks8) November 13, 2020
In a team that has consistently been criticised for their regimented approach in attack, Lowe was a breath of fresh air. While Ireland wingers usually camp on the wing and find themselves out of the game for large periods, the 28-year old played with more freedom.
He constantly drifted in from his position on the left wing, popping up in the centre and even the right wing on occasion. His kick chasing was second to none.
It wasn't a perfect performance. There were a couple of handling errors and he was a little sloppy on the ball on one or two occasions, but you can live with those when he adds so much to the attack.
However, he fully deserved his try at the end of the game. It was the perfect example of what he brings, bursting through the line off the scrum. There was nothing the Welsh could do.
James Lowe marks his Ireland debut with a try as Ireland claim a convincing 32-9 victory over Wales. Watch live on @rte2 and @rteplayer #rterugby #irevwal https://t.co/MDBOvV4Lj3 pic.twitter.com/TomkWRg9Zn
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) November 13, 2020
In the end, Ireland were good value for their 32-9 victory.
While this has been a difficult 12 months or so for Ireland, there have been signs of encouragement in the last few weeks in the form of new players making an impact.
Hugo Kennan and Will Connors were hugely impressive on their debuts against Italy, with Billy Burns looking very good on the ball after his introduction tonight. Lowe only adds to that group.
It also gives Andy Farrell something to build on over the remainder of the year. Winning the Autumn Nations Cup would be a bonus, but using it to allow new players to get acclimatised to the team ahead of 2021 should be the main priority.
It will be an interesting few weeks ahead.