Dickie Bow inconsolabe after Irish slam hopes derailed by low-hanging chariot
It was 160 minutes of pain at the hands of ‘Perfidious Albion’
Ireland’s Lynne Cantwell and Fiona Coghlan look dejected after defaet to England. “We’re matching them woman for woman,” George Hook said at half-time. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Really, all we needed to complete a weekend of our hopes and dreams being Sasanach-ised was to be drawn in the same Euro 2016 qualifying group as our beloved neighbours.
Not that Richie Sadlier, on RTÉ duty yesterday, felt we had any need to fear their Association Football boys, in fact he fancied our chances against them should we be thrust together. But still, we need a sporting break from the blighters.
“That ends 160 minutes of pain at the hands of the English,” said Daire O’Brien after the women’s Grand Slam/Triple Crown ambitions went the way of the men’s. “Today has been a bit of a disaster,” he added, “but here’s a chance to win a car.”
If rugby’s your thing, not even scooping a Lamborghini in a raffle would have cheered you on Saturday, two open-top buses returned to the garage. Although they might be taken out again if one or both teams win the championship, which would be a nice consolation.
And consolation is what the panel sought to find after the men’s setback, which irked George the Dickie Bow no end: “There is Nooooo consolation,” said he, after Tom McGurk had suggested “three points here or there, we could have won that match”.
“When you’re aged 100, Tom,” replied the Dickie Bow. “And you’re looking at your doddery record book it will say that Ireland lost!”
And the gas thing is, Tom had earlier asked his colleague to “lift the nation’s mood”, which was akin to asking Michael Noonan to deliver us some cheer on budget day.
It had all started so hopefully. The pre-men’s-match montage showing Ray Houghton and a horse at Cheltenham sticking it in the English net, Tom alluding to “perfidious Albion”, lest we thought bygones were bygones, almost enough to have the Dickie Bow, Shane Horgan and even Brent Pope wrapping the green flag round them.
Half-time? The same as Arsenal v Sunderland, 3-0 - to England, that is. “International rugby at its best,” said John Inverdale over on the Beeb, to which the entire viewership responded: “Huh?”
Second half and Ryle Nugent noted the affair had turned in to a game of “bruising chess”, a stray pass or two and a stray kick or 10 giving the Sasanach the advantage, to the point where Donal Lenihan declared they were “literally sucking diesel”. Ireland checkmated.
The panel was deflated. Why all that kicking straight to Sasanach full-back Mike Brown?
Shane: “I don’t think they kicked to him. I think the ball went to him on occasions.”
Dickie Bow: “What you have brought to the panel is extraordinary gymnastics with the English language.”
One dream dashed, on to the next. And you can only assume Dickie Bow and Ryle Nugent’s overtime on Saturday will buy them both a Lamborghini, possibly of the gold-plated variety.
England Women v Ireland Women, read the caption on the screen which calls to mind those Gaelic Football/Ladies Gaelic Football newspaper tag lines. But no worries, just hearing the Dickie Bow swoon at half-time over the performance by amateurs against professionals (ish) and proclaim that “we’re matching them woman for woman” was a very lovely thing. Progress, like.
To the Irish crowd who left Twickenham after the boys’ game, divil a low-lying field bellow for our women, one can only hope your Tube broke down.
The ref was muck, as the Dickie Bow observed, while Rosie Foley was trying to be polite. “England were better than us on the day,” said Rosie. “You’re being generous,” he replied, but still, when we dust down our doddery record books they’ll say, “Ireland lost!”.
No matter, hats off to RTÉ for showing the game live, “22,000 and counting girls are playing rugby in Ireland,” said Rosie. There’ll be a few more after Saturday.
And at least, to conclude the weekend, we weren’t Sasanach-ised in that Euro 2016 draw.
“Group D is headed by Germany,” said George Hamilton before Dino Zoff was kind enough to pull our name from the hat, just as you were beginning to wonder if we were in the hat at all. Without a “but”, but you sensed he was thinking it, George added: “Group D does include Gibraltar and Scotland.”
Scotland likened to a footballing rock? We may regret this, almost as much as that famed Scot Ferguson lamented his tangle with a rock from Gibraltar. Remember, there are no easy games in international football.
Especially at Twickenham.