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England show where the pecking order lies to clip the wings of visiting wild geese


Sexton has played 91 times for his country and has had very few poor performances. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Sexton has played 91 times for his country and has had very few poor performances. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile


Sexton has played 91 times for his country and has had very few poor performances. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

There won't be too much about the actual game here this morning. It's bad enough getting bate but then having to write about it afterwards is even worse.

We were still at zero-zero on Sunday morning.

The Cabbage Patch in Twickenham claims to be "The World Most Famous Rugby Pub". It should be called "The World's Most Famous Bad Spelling Pub". And I wonder who stole all the apostrophes.

The Cabbage Patch was packed even at 11am and we moved on.

The man standing outside The William Webb Ellis was a six-feet-three-inch leprechaun. He was dressed in green with a fake red beard which matched his real red hair. I was sure he was an impostor; a stage Irish pied piper, put there by the avaricious Wetherspoon's marketing department to deflect attention from the fact Webb Ellis was an English public schoolboy.

I investigated, he had an English accent. He was real and I was another one of those paranoid conspiracy theory persons.

The giant leprechaun was none other than Patrick Finneran, who left his beloved Keadue in Roscommon when he was five. That was 50 years ago this year. He seldom misses an Irish game and is more Irish than most of those back home.

The way he spoke of Keadue was like the sad verse from an emigrant's lament. "I don't get back home half enough."

Nearly all of the Irish fans at the game had some trace of an English accent. Gerald O'Sullivan, whose family come from North Kerry, was there with four London-born Irishmen. The Mayo colours were a dead giveaway.

The build-up music was too loud in the stadium.

I personally found it inappropriate that British soldiers and military services personnel laid out the Irish rugby union flag. This is a rugby game, not a military tattoo.

England were all over us early on. When Ireland won the Grand Slam here two years ago we got off to a great start. This time it was the other way around.

We will go back to Sunday morning and the bird watching.

There was a pecking order at Twickenham Embankment on the Thames. The first up for the bread thrown in from the bridge by the kids were the swans, who are far more ferocious than you might think. Next in were big ducks. Don't mess with ducks. They're not much quack when they are angry and hungry. Then came the terrified and peripheral pigeons who cowered on the Embankment. Last up were the seagulls. English seagulls are timid compared to their Irish counterparts, who would take the hand off you in Grafton Street for a piece of a Dunkin' Donut.

But then again, the seagulls from upmarket Twickenham aren't exposed to the bad role-modelling our seagulls see when lads are fighting outside pubs and chippers.


England won the pecking order big time, but we never backed off at any stage of the game. There were no pigeons in our team. But mistakes were made.

Jonathan Sexton did brilliantly to get back behind his own line but even though he touched the ball three times it fell from his grasp.

George Ford scored but it seemed to me that Jonny May had a foot in touch in the build- up.

The second English try also came from a kick through and Jacob Stockdale got it wrong.

By half-time, it seemed all Ireland could hope for was a losing bonus point.

The loud stadium commentators laid into some of the Irish players. I wonder could the Irish players hear the criticism in the dressing rooms.

We were much better in the second half. The replacements played well. Caelan Doris was very good and we at least finished up with a try.

We met Mick Lally's nephew from Tourmakeady and he will be thrilled with his countyman. The bonus point was lost but we kept England from getting that fourth try.

We need Wales to do us a big favour in Cardiff. Then we have to beat Italy at home and France in Paris. You are always in trouble when maths is part of the equation.

And now for the hard bit.

Sexton has had better games. The best place for him now is at home for a few days with his wife and kids. He has played 91 times for his country and has had very few poor performances. Maybe three or four at most.

Conor Murray was incredible early on when England could have scored two or three more tries but for his critical interventions. Some of the box-kicks went a bit too far later on.

Ireland were slightly unlucky with the two tries. Whoever it was that designed the shape of the rugby ball had a wicked sense of humour, but it has to be said England are physically stronger than us and have been for most of the last 100 years or so.

They have a bigger pick. It's as simple as that.

I met some of their supporters on the way down to the press room. They are good winners, kind in victory and no rubbing it in.

I hope the people back home are as kind. These men are sons, brothers, dads and husbands.

I hope we take heed and take care here at home. Be kind.

Indo Sport