Tuesday 26 March 2019

Paul O'Connell: This title win was even better craic than last year

Declan Whooley

Ireland captain Paul O'Connell says this year's dramatic Six Nations title was even more enjoyable than the won last year in Paris.

Ireland claimed back-to-back titles on an enthralling final day where Wales won against Italy to top the table before Ireland surpassed Warren Gatland's side with a 40-11 win over Scotland at Murrayfield, before all attentions turned to Twickenham where England required a 26-point win over France to deny Joe Schmidt's team.

A 55-35 win was not enough, but England's desperate search of a converted try at the death to snatch the title made for difficult viewing for the Irish squad. Too much in fact for a number of the players.

"Some guys couldn't watch it," he told the Marian Finucane Show on RTE Radio One this morning. "Some guys went out to the reception and just walked around. I was sitting with Dev Toner and Rob Kearney and we were glued to it."

O'Connell said that the atmosphere created by the fans that waited in the stadium was incredible and says it had been building all week.

"We never imagined that the lower tier of the stadium was rammed with Irish people," he said of the pitch celebrations.

"We noticed it on Friday that there was a massive crowd at the captain's run. There has been a massive amount of Irish people here."

The Munster legend joins Karl Mullen and Ciaran Fitzgerald as the third Irish captain to oversee two championship victories and says the post-match festivities surpassed last year when victory was claimed in Paris in Brian O'Driscoll's final game in a green jersey.

"It was like a disco, it was great fun," he said.

"It was probably better craic than last year. We thought it had been lost by the way England were playing."

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