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'Pressure Is A Privilege': How The Ireland U20s Made History And Repeated Their Grand Slam

'Pressure Is A Privilege': How The Ireland U20s Made History And Repeated Their Grand Slam
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This weekend has been one of the greatest in Irish rugby history with two record-breaking Grand Slams in men's rugby. The Senior side won just their fourth Grand Slam and their first on home soil, while the Ireland U20s bravely saw off England to make them the first Irish side to successfully defend a Grand Slam.

While the world-number-one seniors might be near their peak now, the U20s under Murphy continue to go from strength to strength breaking records as they go. The future of rugby is obviously bright with Murphy not only winning back-to-back illustrious Grand Slams but also extending a Musgrave Park unbeaten run that now stands since the U20s moved there in 2019.

Their 36-24 win over England in Cork ensured they won all the accolades available on St. Patrick's Weekend. It was a tense encounter and only a fraction of a hare separated the sides at the break, but Ireland took full advantage when England were reduced to 13 men through a yellow and red, with everything seeming sealed up with just 15 to play. However, a determined 14-man England were dogged in their resistance and brought it back to just a one-score game in the dying moments. Despite the onslaught, the U20s much like their senior counterparts were well-trained to see off moments of difficulty and put the sword through England with a final and decisive Fintan Gunne try.

Ireland U20s celebrate their Grand Slam win

19 March 2023; Ireland captain Gus McCarthy lifts the trophy after the U20 Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and England at Musgrave Park in Cork. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

With the unbelievable feat completed, we caught up with some of the players after the game and the emotions were palpable.


Straight after the win back-row, stalwart Ruadhan Quinn seemed to bask in the pressure of the occasion relishing the tough game they'd come through,


The seniors yesterday did the first job and we knew there was the pressure, but pressure is a privilege you know, so I thought we earned it and then we delivered it.

It was such a tough game and thought we had it sealed and then two soft tries and suddenly the games on with five minutes left, but brilliant for Fintan right at the end it feels brilliant now.

I've so many happy memories now and here's another one so just happy with how it went.

Ruadhan Quinn celebrates the Ireland U20s Grand Slam win

10 March 2023; Ruadhán Quinn of Ireland celebrates with his family, father Eugene, mother Valerie, Cormac, Muiris and Dannan, after the after the U20 Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Scotland and Ireland at Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Speaking to Quinn it's obvious that this a team oozing in confidence yet admirably humble and our interview with try-scorer Hugh Gavin was no different. Speaking about his scores and the pressure Gavin was full of praise for everyone but himself, already looking ahead to the World Cup.


It was on a plate for me to be fair, Sam kind of sucked them in and then just put me away, but it was still nice to get on the scoreboard to be fair.

We talked about not letting the pressure get to us, just staying in the moment, keeping to our systems because we believed we had just the skills and the players to finish it off.

Credit to England today they stuck in it right till the end and leading into the World Cup that's kind  of what we need.


Despite the cool and calm exterior of both the lads they were full of praise for the Cork crowd who have supported them every step of the way with Quinn expressing his gratitude,

The crowd are phenomenal and I was talking to loads of Munster fans, people from all over the country that came down... so just an incredible night.

With Gavin saying much the same, describing it as 'insane' saying they 'made the experience' they'll be hoping the support keeps up as the Ireland U20s make an attempt at a World Cup come July.




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