Monday March 18, 2019
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And so my father said to me after the last Irish Grand Slam

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- Tom Winnifrith

It was 2009 and the Ireland team of Brian O'Driscoll had just won the grand slam. For my father it was the second triumph for the Old Country in his lifetime. The first was in 1948 when Jackie Kyle from Belfast lead the men in green to the first ever clean sweep in what, was then, the five nations.

And so I said to my father well you have to wait 61 years for that, I don't suppose you will see another in your lifetime. After years of watching Ireland win more wooden spoons than anything else he replied " i doubt you will either".

It is St Patrick's day next Saturday and Ireland head to the fortress of the old enemy, Twickenham, with a Grand Slam on the cards. Both Dad and I could be proved wrong with our 2009 gloom as another fine son of Ulster, Rory Best, leads out our boys.

I do not wish to tempt fate but England looked really piss poor against the French yesterday but a lion is most dangerous when licking its wounds. The English went into this Six Nations with the swagger and conceit which serves to unite the Celtic Nations in their hatred, not of England, but of English Rugby. The talk was of a minor hurdle before the real contest of the next world cup. Such arrogance reminded the Celtic nations of the days of Carling, Guscott and the accursed Woodward (as manager not player).

As such it has been a particular delight to see England laid low by both the Scots and the Frogs. If there is a God, perhaps he will again teach the arrogant English a lesson on the 17th while serving up one last Grand Slam for my father, and possibly me as well, to delight in.


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