TV View: Tea and biscuits all around at Carton House

‘It’s hard to believe that this is the same England team that won the 2019 World Cup’

Ireland fans celebrate as Jacob Stockdale runs in to score an intercept try during their Six Nations win over Scotland. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Ireland fans celebrate as Jacob Stockdale runs in to score an intercept try during their Six Nations win over Scotland. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Not even the one champagne cork popped. “We all feel a bit weird,” confessed Shane Horgan, Matt Williams and Shane Jennings nodding beside him, the celebrations firmly placed on ice until next weekend when a Slam of the Grandest kind will up for grabs at Twickenham.

Still, Joe Molloy assumed there would be some degree of merrymaking at the team hotel, the Championship having been won after all, and it’s only if you’re five or under that you can take that achievement lightly.

TV3’s mistake was not to preface Saturday’s coverage with a documentary called ‘The Wooden Spoon Years’, just to show young persons that Ireland used occasionally be rucked and mauled in to oblivion and that the rugby-loving wrinklies in their lives used to endure a significant amount of pain. Some of them are still celebrating the 2009 Championship win because it was the first since the previous century, namely 1985. Now it’s three in five years and you got the notion from the panel that the squad would celebrate with a cup of tea and a lightly buttered digestive.

Jennings conceded they might go mad and have a glass of wine with their dinner, but Horgan insisted “they won’t blow the doors down”.

“So it’ll be one pint and one protein shake,” asked Joe. Pretty much, said his panel, and then back to work.

“Locking yourself away in Carton House sounds kind of grim, with the greatest of respect to everyone in Carton House,” said Joe. If he’s ever stuck for somewhere to stay in Kildare, he’ll have to look elsewhere.

So, weird indeed. Kind of like not celebrating a million Euro Lotto win because you’re holding out for a bigger jackpot seven days’ later.

But it all went swimmingly on Saturday. Stephen Ferris, on TV3 duty, noted that when Conor Murray divinely intervened to put Ireland 21-3 up, “as if by magic the clouds have parted and the sun has come shining through”. Even the Gods were on our side, as were the French a bit later in the day.

Which is just as well because when Sinead Kissane nabbed Joe Schmidt for a chat after the game in Dublin, he was under the mistaken impression that Ireland had already won the Championship, even before France and England took to the pitch in Paris.

“It’s pretty much wrapped up tonight. No one can catch us, which is great . . . it’s nice to have won it at home today,” he said, and you had the sinking feeling that this would be Irish sport’s ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’ moment once England picked up two bonus point wins from their final two games.

France, bless their high performance socks, put an end to England’s challenge. The most excellent verdict on the game came from a chap by the name of David McCarthy on the tweet machine who said it was “hard to believe that this is the same England team that won the 2019 World Cup”.

Over on the BBC Sonja McLaughlan had the job of chatting with the ever affable Eddie Jones after the game. “I just got a text from my Mum saying ‘where have England disappeared to?’ What would you say to her,” she asked. A nation held its breath in dread of how Eddie might respond to Sonja’s Mum, but it being Mother’s Day weekend he held his whist.

Back in the studio John Inverdale was cursing the Gods. “How different it might have been if that had fallen short,” he said of Jonathan Sexton’s drop goal in Paris, Paul O’Connell just about resisting winking at him and saying ‘if the Queen had wotsits she’d be the king’.

Jeremy Guscott, though, was left swooning about Schmidt’s men, “Ireland at the moment are a wonderful side to watch,” he said. Back on TV3. “I find Ireland’s rugby a little bit boring, to be honest,” said Matt. It’s probably a little like art, you know what you like, some love their Botticelli, others prefer a bit of Banksy. Either way, the Championship table come the end of the day was the prettiest of pictures. On to London to make it a masterpiece.

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