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Mary Hannigan: Contrasting feelings for Irish rugby and football fans this morning

Reaction too from the Irish Open and the World Rowing Championships

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny during his team's defeat to the Netherlands on Sunday night. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

If rugby’s your tipple, you’ll have had a spring in your step when you set about your business this morning, no doubt still basking in the afterglow of that 12-try demolition of Romania at the World Cup. But if the round ball is your preferred code, there’s a chance you’re still to come out from under the sheets.

As Gavin Cummiskey puts it, “the song remains the same for Stephen Kenny”, the Dutch handing his Irish team their fourth defeat in five group games on Sunday evening, all but ending their hopes of qualifying automatically for Euro 2024.

What remains to be seen is whether these results – so-so performances, with depleted squads, against superior opposition – fall short of the FAI’s minimum expectations,” writes Ken Early, the powers-that-be now having to contemplate parting company with a second senior manager in a fortnight.

Andy Farrell’s tenure is a touch more secure, his charges kick-starting their World Cup campaign with that 82-8 cruise. “While the performance wasn’t perfect, no one could have asked for much more,” writes Gerry Thornley, noting that “the remarkable Johnny Sexton looked as fit as a flea”. “When he purrs, Ireland purr. It’s long been that simple.”


Bundee Aki did a bit of purring himself in Bordeaux, Johnny Watterson reflecting on his outstanding performance, while Gerry heard from Joe McCarthy, the youngest member of the squad, who capped his World Cup debut with “what should be the first of many Test tries”.

The busiest man of the weekend was undoubtedly our John O’Sullivan who not only penned; Ireland v Romania talking point: Ireland need to be smarter against better sides at Rugby World Cup, and Five things we learned from the opening weekend of games, he also found time to witness England’s victory over Argentina and Scotland’s defeat by South Africa. Johnny, meanwhile, saw Wales overcome Fiji in a humdinger of a game.

Back home, Philip Reid was at the K Club to see Sweden’s Vincent Norrman prevail at the Irish Open, despite the weather Gods’ best efforts to derail the final round, while Ian O’Riordan brings us happy news from the rowing world championships: Ireland collected four medals, the men’s pair of Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy and Siobhán McCrohan striking gold, and finished up with six boats qualified for the Paris Olympics. If rowing’s your tipple, you’re currently located on cloud nine.

TV watch: You can catch up on all the weekend’s Rugby World Cup action, in the company of Daire O’Brien, Bernard Jackman and Darren Cave, on Against the Head (RTÉ 2, 8.0 – 9.0).

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