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Munster supporters Ann Ryan & Christine Rutledge with Ronan O'Gara, Simon Easterby, Paul O'Connell, Mick O'Driscoll & Donncha O'Callaghan on a visit to Temple St Chidrens Hospital on Wednesday.
Treat Scotland With Respect
2 February 2008, 9:24 am
Saturday can't come quick enough for Donncha O'Callaghan and his Irish teammates as they prepare to put the disappointment of Paris firmly behind.
O'Callaghan and Munster colleagues Paul O'Connell, Ronan O'Gara and Mick O'Driscoll were joined by Simon Easterby on Wednesday when they made a visit to Temple Street Hospital on their day off from the rigours of training. "And we think we have it hard ?"commented O'Gara during the visit, "Then you come here and see the work these people, nurses and doctors do. Absolutely brilliant."

Besides the obvious lift it gave patients their parents and the staff, the player's visit certainly ensured there will be quite a few more tuning in to events at nearby Croke Park on Saturday where O'Callaghan hopes Ireland will get themselves back on a winning track.

"It was a very disappointed dressing room after the game in Paris, there's no question about that. We knew we'd .....ed up. We knew it was a game we should have won even after we'd given them that lead. But at no stage did we think the game was beyond us. At half time there was no panic. No ranting and raving. We said at half time we just needed to cut out the mistakes. And even after the try in the second half we knew we weren't out of it.

" So in a way we proved ourselves right in that we did get back to within a score of winning it and to not close the deal was devastating, it really was."

"All the talk before was of what the French were going to do to us. I not sure people gave Italy credit at all. It was our first game since France. There was a rustiness there and we din't play well as a team. We knew that but we also knew we were better than that. Could play better. I think we saw in the second half in France what we're capable of. And again I think it wasn't that we were so bad in the first, just every time we made a mistake they scored.

This time around in total contrast people are looking at Scotland and expecting Ireland to do to them what the same people predicted France would do to Ireland.

"Yeh," says O'Callaghan, "it's gas really. The expectation out there is huge. I suppose when you're at home you're expected to win and that's fair enough although all that home advantage guarantees is the crowd support. Of course that's a huge help, but this game won't be won in the stands. And whatever about what people think, there's no-one in the squad under any illusions about how tough this game is going to be. I don't think we can ever be accused of being complacent and there's no chance of that on Saturday. No matter what level you play Scottish sides, in Magners League, Heineken Cup or this level, they are never easy games and you really have to play out of your skins to beat them."

"But I'm looking forward to the game. We all are. You don't like to see fellas dropped (Mal) but it's great to have Micko in there and Paulie back in the 22. Mind you maybe that isn't such a great thing now that I think of it, Paulie coming up behind ye. Certainly can't say there's no incentive."

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