Finlay Bealham hadn’t seen his parents in person for two years until they flew over from Australia to watch Ireland’s Six Nations game against England earlier. Needless to say the pandemic was the cause.
The Connacht prop, originally from Australia, was able to celebrate the occasion not just by coming off the pitch in front of 82,000 fans, but also by scoring the bonus point sealing try.
It was not a routine finish either, with Bealham having to bundle his way over from a couple of metres out against a side who were not giving up yards easily.
He packs more of a punch than his size might suggest, and it’s one of the reasons he has been able to ward off competition for Ireland’s second choice tighthead spot.
He shared a special moment with his parents after game, which truly highlighted the power of sport to create moments that bridge the space between ‘normal life’ and life on the pitch.
Bealham spoke RTÉ.ie after the game
"I had my parents there, who I hadn't seen for the last two and half years with Covid, it was a really special day for the team and for me personally as well
"I got to meet them after the game in the crowd and it was a really emotional moment for us, that I hadn't seen them in the last two and half years.
"It was really special for me. It’s a day that my family won’t forget."
Despite certain pundits being underwhelmed by Ireland’s win, the players themselves seemed delighted to come away with another important Six Nations victory.
“Two years ago, we would have lost that game,” was captain Johnny Sexton’s take on the game.
Head coach Andy Farrell echoed these sentiments.
“I’m over the moon. If you said this before the game, we would have snatched your hand off.
“It’s a tough place to come and we were under a bit of pressure in that second half for a while, and some of that was our own doing, but the composure that we showed at 15-15 to stick to our task and come away with the bonus-point was something we should be immensely proud of.”
Hugo Keenan, who put in another phenomenal display while under immense kick pressure from England’s half-backs, spoke for the squad when he said “we are delighted with the win.”
It’s on now to Scotland in the Aviva Stadium next week, for the final round of the Six Nations. Ireland will be expecting to grab a win, before hoping that England do them a favour in Paris.