It was heartbreak and amazement as Ireland oh so narrowly missed out on a famous victory over the All Blacks in their match yesterday at Aviva Stadium. An injury time last minute conversion from New Zealand though cruelly denied Ireland both a historic and magnificent victory with the Irish side losing 24-22 at the final whistle. The All Blacks had made the trip to Ireland in search of an unbeaten international season, the first ever during the professional period.
But despite the heartbreaking defeat this was a match that exceeded all expectations and brings to mind all the wonders of Irish sport and indeed sport in general. This was an epic match of David versus Goliath proportions, where for until the last few minutes it looked as if David (Ireland) would miraculously gain a momentous unforeseen victory against the giants of rugby, the New Zealand All Blacks.
Going into this match the Irish rugby team battered and bruised from last weeks surprise defeat to Australia had little to no hope of defeating the All Blacks from New Zealand, a team judged the best in the world and perhaps of all time. A team whom we have never beaten in all 27 previous encounters which date back to 1905. It was clear that the All Blacks weren’t here for an Ireland vacation so this year’s task looked all the more daunting as the almighty Kiwi side were looking for a record of their own, to go through a full rugby season unbeaten.
But despite the odds and true to the unique Irish sporting spirit that entails that when we are the underdogs we often seem to play at our very best. And for the first 44 minutes of the 83 minutes of the game we did just that surprising the mighty All-Blacks and dominating the game, stunning them in the first half with the likes of Conor Murray, Rory Best and Rob Kearney all crossing the Kiwi line inside 20 minutes to lead us 22/3 in the first half. However in the second half the Kiwi team began to fight back in full force and show just why they remain undefeated this season to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat from a weary Irish side who had played their hearts out for 80 minutes in a match that has to go down as one of the best in recent years of Irish rugby.
So whilst the final scoreline reads as yet another defeat the match showed otherwise, for most of the gameIrelandheld their own indeed for a time bettered the mighty Kiwis before fatigue and a last minute try cruelly denied us a historic result. It may be heartache but going by this performance at least the future of Irish rugby looks bright.