Ireland’s run-in for World Cup qualification

On Friday the 24th April Ireland played out an intense 0-0 draw with Wales to mark the halfway point in the qualification stages to reach Russia for the World Cup in  2018.

So far they’ve played 5 matches and gone unbeaten picking up 11 points leaving them joint top but with Serbia edging them out on goal difference.

The results have been as follows:

Serbia 2-2 Republic of Ireland-FK Crevna Zvezda-Belgrade

Republic of Ireland 1-0 Georgia-Aviva Stadium-Dublin

Moldova 1-3 Republic of Ireland-Zimbru-Chisinau

Austria-0-1 Republic of Ireland-Ernst Happel Stadium-Vienna

Republic of Ireland-0-0 Wales-Aviva Stadium-Dublin

Considering that the boys in green were away for the Austria and Serbia game if they keep up this form they look set to qualify for Russia.

The next 5 games are:

Republic of Ireland vs Austria-11th of June-Aviva Stadium-Dublin

Georgia vs Republic of Ireland-2nd of September-Boris Paichadze National Stadium-Tbilisi

Republic of Ireland vs Serbia-5th of September-Aviva Stadium-Dublin

Republic of Ireland vs Moldova-6th of October-Aviva Stadium-Dublin

Wales vs Republic of Ireland-9th of October-City Stadium-Cardiff

With a couple of tough games and Seamus Coleman out for the foreseeable future it looks tough but I believe Martin O’Neil’s men have enough to qualify automatically or through the play offs.



Ireland’s Journey Through the 6 Nations

Ireland had a very up and down tournament with big wins and disappointing losses so let’s look back at it.

Scotland 27-22  Ireland

To say the tournament got off to a bad start would be an understatement. Joe Schmidt’s men, who were picked to be the champions, never turned up against the Scots. It was the first half that killed Ireland, with Stuart Hogg getting a double in tries. Iain Henderson and Paddy Jackson tried to mount a comeback but 2 late penalties from Greg Laidlow  got them the victory.

Italy 10-63 Ireland

Then, when you talk about big wins, here’s a great example. Ireland rampaged through Italy on this day with CJ Stander and Craig Gilroy both grabbing hat-tricks. Stander and Keith Earls both crossed twice in the first half and Paddy Jackson got a 100% conversion rate. Italy brought back ten points with a converted penalty-try and a penalty, but to no avail. Stander completed his hat-trick in the second half, before being replaced by Gilroy, who also got three tries. Gary Ringose also got one to seal up the score.

Ireland 19-9 France

In Ireland’s first home game they continued their winning ways. France were 6-0 up and had a try disallowed, but Conor Murray got them into the lead just before the break with a converted try. Into the second half Ireland went nine points further ahead, thanks to Johnny Sexton’s penalties. France pulled 3 back from Camille Lopez with a third penalty, but straight after Paddy Jackson restored the lead to nine after yet another penalty.

Wales 22-9 Ireland

After two wins on the bounce, Wales put a stop to that with a commanding win over the boys in green. Ireland opened the scoring with a Johnny Sexton penalty. Wales hit back with last years top try scorer George North getting over the line while Sexton was in the sin-bin for a HIA. Paddy Jackson got Ireland back in front with a penalty while Sexton was still in the bin. It was short lived as Halfpenny got a penalty just before the end of the half so they went into the break leading. North got his second try just after the half with Halfpenny converting. Sexton cut the deficit by 3 with another penalty but it was to no avail, as Jamie Roberts put one under the post in the last 3 minutes to wrap it up with Halfpenny converting again.

Ireland 13-9 England

England had the 6 nations  wrapped up but there was a lot more riding on this like the winning record of 18 wins in tier one rugby and the Grand Slam. Ireland started well, with Sexton kicking them three points ahead early on. Then, around 25 minutes, in Iain Henderson got over the line with a conversion from Sexton, but thanks to a penalty put over by Owen Farrell, it was 10-3 going into the break. Farrell cut the lead to 6 points with another penalty. Sexton relieved mounting pressure on Ireland with another penalty to make it 13-6. Farrell kicked over again but it turned out to only be consolation, as England were left with a sour taste in their mouth lifting the 6 Nations.