Monday, March 23, 2009

Grand Slam at last!

On Saturday, after 61 years of waiting, Ireland finally won a Grand Slam at the six nations. The final game was against the pre-tournament favourites, Wales at their home in Cardiff.

It was such a tense and nerve-shredding experience, going down to the final seconds of the game, but the result was a good one.

The Irish Times sums up the dying moments below:

Two minutes to go.

Ryle Nugent: “Horan . . . Wallace . . . Ireland in position . . . this MUST be it . . . this MUST be it for Ronan O’Gara . . . drop . . . at . . . goal . . . Grand Slam . . . at . . . stake . . . HE’S GOOOOOOT IIIIIIIIIT!!!!!!!!”

“YEEEeeeeEEEESSssssSSSS!!!!!!!!!!,” said Tony Ward, leaving us wondering which side he was supporting.

“WHOOOooooOOO HOOOooooOO!!!!!,” said Ryle, ensuring he’d never again receive a welcome in the valleys.

“OOOOOOOOOH!!!,” said Tony, so high pitched it sounded like he’d actually popped.

“WOULD. YOU. BELIEEeeeeEEEVE. THAT,” asked Ryle.

Us: “NOOOOOOOoooooo!” (“But we’ve still got two minutes to go,” whispered Tony, so hushed it sounded like he’d just fainted).

By our calculations two minutes = 120 seconds, which, in the scheme of things, isn’t all that much, except when it’s 120 seconds of excruciating, unendurable, insufferable hell.

Sixty seconds later.

“No penalties,” pleaded Tony, his voice going all tremolo.

“No penalties now,” screamed Ryle, his voice long since gone tremolo.

One second later.

Ryle: “Penalty to Wales.“Wales have a penalty to win the Triple Crown and break Irish hearts,”

the penalty was awarded with the time at 79:11; Stephen Jones struck the ball at 80:07; it neared the posts at 80:10. That was almost a whole minute.But all the while, through that lifetime that was those 59 seconds, you knew, come what may, you’d remember it forever, good or bad.

They crouched, they studied, they exchanged a quick glance, and perhaps prompted by Tony’s strangled cry of “yeeeeEEEEEeeeessssSSSSssssss” they kept their flags lowered, and you exhaled so violently a hurricane would have seemed like a breeze.


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