Parents felt a wave of pride after final whistle
Family look on as Rob Kearney joins lap of honour with Irish teammates
It wasn't until his son clambered up the stand at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday night that Rob Kearney's dad David could really puff out his chest with pride.
David and his wife Siobhan travelled with their sons David and Richard for the nail-biting Grand Slam clash with Wales hoping that Rob and his Irish teammates were going to make history.
And there was another reason for the family trip to Wales - Rob's younger brother David was due to play in the Irish under 20 game at Llanelli, but was sidelined because of a hamstring injury.
David Senior told the Argus how the family then drove to Cardiff and met with Rob before the Irish team travelled to the Millennium Stadium.
He said: 'We had a cup of coffee and Rob had some water. He gave us the tickets and he and the rest of the lads seemed to be in good form.
' They were nicely nervous I would say. They seemed to be very focused and had a good mindset'.
David admitted that the family and an estimated 35,000 Irish fans inside and outside the stadium were also nervous.
He said: ' The atmosphere was like nothing on earth - it was quite incredible. The championship couldn't have climaxed in a better stadium outside of Ireland and the singing beforehand from the Irish and Welsh fans was just brilliant'.
The referee's whistle after the nerve-wracking finale unleashed emotional scenes among the Irish, not least the Kearneys. They beamed with delight as their middle son joined his teammates in a lap of honour around the pitch.
Rob and a few of the other lads climbed their way through the stands to hug their parents. It was then his dad felt the waves of pride wash over him.
He said: 'I say this all the time, but it is only when the final whistle goes that you can stick out your chest with pride.'
The Kearneys went to the Hilton where the Irish team were based. Every one of the lads was swamped, but the family managed to grab Rob for a few minutes in his room to speak to him properly.
He told them he picked up an injury in the first minute which left his back in spasms for most of the game. He underwent a routine MRI scan on Monday to assess potential disc damage.
David is hoping Rob will be home for his 23rd birthday on Friday for a family celebration. And the support from Carlingford and Cooley for Rob has been huge.
David said: ' The texts and calls from people from this area have been phenomenal. They really seem to have taken Rob to their hearts'.