THE Irish defeat in Paris in the Six Nations, in a world full of cynics, will doubtless deflate Irish rugby's delusions of grandeur and its hopes of translating Triple Crown glory and Grand Slam victory into the ultimate coronation of World Cup winners in 2011.
The intelligent, optimistic and those who have the ability to think laterally, as exemplified by Irish captain Brian O'Driscoll whose world-class displays have unhinged the most sophisticated defences, will realise that failure is all part of success and that there is a need to learn from mistakes. In defeat against France, for example, Ireland's attacking threat and capacity to win line-out ball were evident.
By accepting that against world-class opposition it is better to play for field position and launch attacks from deep inside the opposition half which will invariably yield better results than trying to attack from inside your own half, Ireland can make further strides forward.
It was also notable that when John Hayes was replaced in the scrum, Ireland became much more competitive. As so often proves to be the case, a forward with a low centre of gravity and not as tall as Hayes is more effective in this area of battle.
Life is a game of inches and Ireland's ability to learn from defeat can drive them forward to glory in 2011.
Ryan Padraig Kelly