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Why Ian Madigan Against France Was Perhaps The Most Impressive Performance I've Seen

Why Ian Madigan Against France Was Perhaps The Most Impressive Performance I've Seen
By Mark Farrelly

Ian Madigan was not the best player on the pitch against France last Sunday but in my eyes he was the most impressive. And in fact, I can't think of many individual performances that have ever impressed me more.

When Sexton left the pitch mid-way through the half it was probably the nation's biggest collective groan since the infamous Henry handball in Paris. I doubt you could find more than a handful of people who had serious faith in Madigan to step up in his absence. A decent player by all accounts but not off the same caliber as his Leinster teammate.

Indeed you'd have forgiven Madigan if he under-performed. One can only imagine the whirlwind of emotions that he must have been going through. One moment you're sitting on the bench, the next you're leading the defence in Ireland's biggest match in recent memory; with an entire country doubting your ability to deliver.

But from the moment he came on Madigan went for it. He grabbed the game and made it his. This was a career defining performance. One where he could crumble, blend in or stand out. He chose the latter.

It was not the absence of mistakes which made his performance brilliant, it was their presence.

He stepped up and sure, he got a couple of calls wrong and threw the odd wayward pass but it only enhanced his reputation in my eyes. Time and time again he could have shied away and hidden. He could have given in to the occasion and shrunk. Instead he refused to wavier. He continued to drive himself and his team forward.

It's cliched at this stage but if success really is defined by the amount of times a man can rise after he falls then Madigan was that notion embodied on Sunday. If they were handing out gold stars for showing character then Madigan would have deserved his own booklet.

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With the injury to Jonny Sexton it seems as though he may have to step-up at least once more. We can only hope that the France game has given him the belief that he can not only deputise but that he can lead.

And perhaps we can learn a thing or two from him as well.

Also read: The Ireland Management Give An Update On Whether Johnny Sexton's World Cup Is Over

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