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Barbara McCarthy: 'Forget the backstop as Ireland unites on field of dreams'

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'For 80 minutes today there’s only one side, and one thing we don’t want to lose – come on Ireland.'  (Stock photo)

'For 80 minutes today there’s only one side, and one thing we don’t want to lose – come on Ireland.' (Stock photo)

'For 80 minutes today there’s only one side, and one thing we don’t want to lose – come on Ireland.' (Stock photo)

In these heady times of peak Brexit hysteria, and Cuban Missile Crisis panic, you'd think it is impossible to pile any more angst onto Irish-English relations. Then along comes the Six Nations, and the clash of clashes.

The last time tension off the pitch was this high before a match was in 1973, when the English team showed up in Lansdowne Road for a Five Nations' tie at the height of the Troubles. Scotland and Wales refused to travel in 1972. Eighteen people had died in the first four weeks of 1973 and the mood in the lead up to the game was fraught. Will they or won't they come? But on the day they came, and 50,000 Irish people gave the English team a standing ovation, and then Ireland won the match 18-9.


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