Magical year in store for Irish boyz

 

January: Munster progress through to why there's only another 10 in the A squad.

Mike Ruddock's self-styled Leinster "babies" become the first away team to win at Welford Road in over two years, thereby scraping into the quarter-finals, after dramatic, pitch-length injury-time try by Brian O'Driscoll.

Tony O'Reilly's securitisation scheme hits a snag when home unions fail to agree divvy-up of potential £3 billion windfall. It transpires that the English RFU want 95 per cent of the bonds issue, as they have the biggest debt/biggest numbers/biggest TV audience/biggest egos/biggest brains/biggest. . .

February: A radically remodelled young Irish team, featuring 10 Munster players and a new young captain in Mick Galwey, push England to the wire at Twickenham. They lead 25-0 with 10 minutes to go before panicking. Warren Gatland acclaims his "babies". Says they're coming along nicely. IRFU privately tell him they better come along quickly. George Hook says Gatland must go.

Fifteen mannequins dressed in Scottish jerseys and kilts, and propelled by a remote control from Ian McGeechan in the stand, win at Lansdowne Road after Ireland self-destruct in last five minutes. George Hook says Gatland must go. Leinster Schools' Senior Cup continues to retain Corinthian ideal/sporting excellence in a corrupt world/restore one's faith in Irish rugby.

March: After lengthy negotiations with visionary IRFU executives, RTE announces new in-depth coverage of domestic rugby, with an hour-long results and highlights package every Saturday, and a midweek magazine programme, incorporating interviews and features, with a regular try of the month slot and try of the season competition.

Gatland, Lenihan and O'Sullivan wield the axe and in response to demands for newer, younger players, select radically remodelled team under a new captain in Brian O'Driscoll, who declines to be interviewed.

Ireland hammer Italy, with O'Driscoll scoring Irish record of five tries in front of 2,500 Lansdowne Road crowd, but results are generally pilloried and Hook maintains that Gatland must go.

Keith Wood lands an injury-time drop goal in Paris following triple skip pass from super sub Marcus Horan to earn a thrilling 25-24 win; Franck Tournaire embraces him in outpouring of French bonhomie, kisses him on both cheeks/bites both his ears, and declares: "Ah Festur, mon ami, you are ze best. Je t'adore."

April: English club owners announce new format for British League. Twickenham gives it the okay, also sanctioning revolutionary new proposal, widely acclaimed in English media, that Six Nations be moved to July and run off as a week-long festival in the Millennium Dome so as not to conflict with domestic English club season.

Ireland beat Wales to record third win in championship after vintage performances by Brian O'Driscoll and Marcus Horan. Campaign is thus heralded a glorious success and an IRFU spokesperson attributes it to the union's latest proposed new format for the AIL, commenting: "We only announced it a fortnight ago and already it's working." Gatland is offered new 10-year contract.

The Irish team are enlisted by Louis Walsh as a new Irish boy band and release new single which storms to number one in the Irish charts before it is even released. When it is released, it comes with a Government health warning. Mike Mullins is precluded from joining as he is not Irish enough/he can actually play the guitar/looks too much like a rock star. Munster beat Leinster in front of 15,000 sell-out at Thomond Park to reach European Cup semi-finals.

May: Shannon win relegation/promotion play-off over two legs against Belfast Harlequins to "stay up". The latter lodge objection with IRFU on grounds that Shannon had an unfair advantage - it turns out they were sponsored by Viagra. IRFU committee say they never heard of it/it wasn't on their list of prohibited drugs/the testing procedures were flawed/they had valid reasons for taking it.

Munster win European Cup by beating Toulouse in Millennium Stadium, courtesy of a hat-trick of tries by Marcus Horan. Franck Tournaire carries Keith Wood shoulder high around the pitch. Woody and Co give their neatest side-step of the campaign to avoid Jim McDaid and Bertie Ahern at Dublin Airport by landing in Shannon.

June: London Irish announce plans to relocate to Twickenham so as to increase capacity potential/corporate entertainment potential. Men in white coats check to see if there are clouds over Sunbury/how much of the sponsors' brew is drunk there on a weekly basis.

Ireland narrowly beat Argentina, and add resounding wins over Canada and the US, and release second single.

July: Amid pre-Olympic hype and outpouring of nationalistic fervour, Australia beat All Blacks following pitch invasion by world record attendance in Sydney in match of the millennium refereed by upwardly mobile Alan Lewis.

August: ERC announce new format for European Cup and European Shield/RFU announce new format for Allied Dunbar Super Duper British League/IRB announce changes to World Cup format in 2003. All Blacks rebound to win Tri-Nations. Keith Wood endorses Munster Branch/IRFU promotional campaign.

September: Mike Ruddock announces his "babies" have arrived after Leinster clinch interpro title with four-try salvo and decisive bonus point against Munster, thereby ending Munster's 21-game unbeaten run. They too form a new Irish boy band, with Brian O'Driscoll lead vocalist.

November: Irish boy band beat touring Wallabies to extend unbeaten sequence to seven tests; IB demand that the Aussies give back the Webb Ellis Trophy.

December: London Irish move to Millennium Dome to increase capacity potential/corporate entertainment potential. IRB announce there will be an embargo on law changes or changes to formats of any competition worldwide over the festive period.