Gerry Thornley: Merchants of doom wide of mark in 2016

Season turned on Connacht’s daring and unlikely success and will go down in history

Rory Best congratulated by team-mates on his 100th cap after Ireland beat Australia at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Rory Best congratulated by team-mates on his 100th cap after Ireland beat Australia at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

It may not have been a vintage one, but by any yardstick 2016 was a good year for Irish rugby. One only has to rewind 12 months to remember where we were. Doom and gloom prevailed.

The hangover from the injury-riddled defeat to Argentina in the quarter-final of the World Cup had lingered into the provinces and Ireland’s Six Nations campaign. Leinster, particularly, and Munster and Ulster were all feeling the effects, each having been on the receiving end of bonus-point wins by English clubs, who would provide five of the quarter-finalists in an Anglo-French Champions Cup carve-up. Money wasn’t so much talking as screaming.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.