There are a number of generous gestures from the days of the Irish rugby team at Croke Park that are kept for those who have received them.
ne of the first things Paddy ‘Rala’ O’Reilly sees every morning is an obstacle he receives from Tomás O’Leary’s father, Seánie, who passed away last year. Rala has been a batting for Ireland for 21 years and he always makes saves and saves for the players before training.
During his years at Croke Park in Ireland, O’Leary told Rala he would ask his father to send him a stroller to add to his collection. Rala thanks him and asks if his dad plays bombing.
When Ronan O’Gara saw the hurdle that Seánie sent to Rala the following week with it signed by the four-time All-Ireland winner and other Cork hurdles legends like Jimmy Barry-Murphy, he told him that under no circumstances should he let the players use that barrier.
“It’s gold,” O’Gara told him. Rala recalls what O’Gara said and he has kept it right next to his bed at home ever since.
Irish rugby’s Croke Park game that few would like to remember was recycled last week. Just like this year, Ireland reached the final round of the 2010 Six Nations against Scotland in the race for the Triple Crown.
Following their match was France against England in Paris with France winning the Grand Slam.
A full house in Croke Park, the final match of their temporary residence there, what could happen.
“It was a romantic ending that couldn’t be staged – our last game at Croke Park with a Triple Crown win,” Declan Kidney said in the build.
The day before that game in March 2010, the man who would break Ireland’s hearts the next day with a belated penalty stood at the end of Hill 16 and noticed something peculiar in the way the wind blew.
Few expected Scotland to go into the final game at Croke Park – they only scored one point in the Six Nations that year after a draw with England last weekend and they are in a race against Italy to avoid the wooden spoon.
“I think going into the game against Ireland it was like, we really don’t have much to lose,” Dan Parks, a former Scotland player, told Irish independence this week from his home in Sydney. “When we arrived in Ireland, there was a lot of talk in the newspapers. I never actually read the newspaper but you will see the headlines.
“So it’s good and really like this is a bit, not disrespectful, it’s just a bit of a foregone conclusion in the minds of a lot of these journalists.”
The person facing Parks that day, Johnny Sexton, had a feeling things weren’t right leading up to the Croke Park finale. The widespread assumption was that Ireland would win, that was the year after they won the Grand Slam and Scotland had not won in Dublin since 1998, 12 years before that.
“Maybe we weren’t prepared enough,” Sexton recalled this week. “Even the night before the game, I still remember a few things that happened and yes. . . We didn’t get it right. “
And Scotland did. The game is at 20-20 with just over a minute left when Scotland are awarded a penalty. Parks took four penalties and conceded one. There was no concept of silence for the free kickers as boos poured down around the Park as he stood over the kick near the touchline under the Hogan stands.
He recalled what he had learned the day before and how the wind tended to blow towards the middle of the field.
“And that kick, you can clearly see it moved a little bit left to right in the air,” Parks said of the penalty that delivered Scotland’s monstrous 23-20 win.
What caught Parks attention was how quickly the Ireland fans turned and left after the final whistle. Mostly only the bags of Scotland supporters remained as the Scotland players circled the field afterwards. No, he doesn’t mind.
“I just remember sitting back and thinking, wow it was like a day that didn’t exist. I am tired but mentally refreshed. . . it’s a good feeling. “
What remains with Parks from that day at Croke Park is a gesture of generosity by Sexton. It was a nasty game and there was also a strange substitution as O’Gara was brought on after Ireland had been awarded a 52-minute penalty and Sexton initially walked away before continuing to take the kick. punish. Despite all and the setback, Sexton went into the Scottish dressing room after having a beer with Parks.
“Johnny was very humble and after the game he came on the pitch and shared a beautiful moment with me and that is something I will never forget. He offered me his shirt from that day on.
“He just said, ‘This is for you. And I tried to swap (my jersey) but he said, ‘No, this is your day, enjoy it’. It left a really lasting mark on me. So I’m really excited to see how successful he’s been over the years.”
Sexton and Cian Healy are the only Ireland players for tomorrow left from that match 12 years ago.
It’s almost a repeat scenario with Ireland chasing a double Crown at home to Scotland – and also a championship – with France in position to win a Grand Slam ahead of England in Paris. Can Scotland make an ambush on the last day of Dublin?
“Yes, I think so,” Parks said. “It will be difficult for Scotland this weekend but I have no doubts about their ability.
“Seeing some of the work that Ireland has done since November and so far their structure in attack, it looks very sharp.”
For Parks, winning Croke Park is a day he will always remember. For Sexton, it’s a day he won’t forget: “I’m not sure too many players will remember 2010. But I certainly will.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/six-nations/in-ireland-there-was-a-lot-of-talk-in-the-papers-the-day-scotland-produced-a-croke-park-shock-41460066.html ‘In Ireland, there’s a lot of talk in the press’ – the day Scotland made a splash in Croke Park