Listen that match on Sunday was just brilliant. Hats off to all concerned, the players who played and those who prepared the side, especially Eddie O Sullivan, Niall O Donovan and Mike Ford. The signs are good for us winning the Grand Slam or at the very least going to the Millennium for a winner take all game against the Welsh.
But my question is this ? What about the future. I watched the U21 game on Saturday and it was nothing short of brutal. Spoke to a mate who saw the U19s and his term to describe that match was deplorable. The 21s lost 28-6, the 19s 48 something (small).
Where are the 21s from last year ? How many playing representative rugby. How many shaping up to replace the senior players.
Of those who started in the 22 on Sunday, players like Reggie Corrigan, John Hayes, Anthony Foley, Simon Easterby Girvan Dempsey, Denis Hickie, David Humphreys and Guy Easterby are coming to the end of their tether.
Ok, Marcus Horan can slot in for Corrigan, Eric Miller for Foley. Loads of options for the back-row. Tommy Bowe on the wing, but when they become the front-liners who will be the back-up.
Could we have done what England did. Field without seven or eight first choice players - and I don t include allowing for the retirement of Johnson, D Allaglio and Back - and come within an ace of winning ?
How come there was no A game. I mean England played an A game against France. Why not against us ? Where are the likes of Sheahan, O Callaghan, Jennings, Bowe going to get experience ? - In the Celtic League ?
Eddie O Sullivan is doing a fantastic job at senior level. It seems everything in the garden is rosy for now. But who is charged with ordering the plants for the next season. If the evidence of the U21/U19 is anything to go by, prepare yourselves for a less colourful garden.
Peter Brady Mallow.
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