Tag Archives: retro rugby

For the weekend that’s in it.

Ireland Vs Scotland.

Lansdowne Road, Saturday, February 19, 2000.

Ireland took to the pitch with a quintet of debutants, among them, Ronan O’Gara and Peter Stringer (airborne above), hoping to break a 12-year-long record of defeats.

The victory would usher in a golden era for Irish rugby.

Gerry Thornely, in the following Monday’s Irish Times, wrote:

And with one bound, Ireland were free. Just like that. It’s amazing what a bit of pace and variation, a bit of old-fashioned aggression and a little of confidence and luck can bring. But what a day, what a metamorphosis.

It was scarcely credible really. The sun shone for once gloriously on this normally overcast fixture, Lansdowne Road rediscovered its spirit and even the singing was good.

Any excuse

Ireland v Scotland: 10 Things You Really Should Know (Irish Times, February 21, 2000)

Pic: Getty


This afternoon.

Temple Bar, Dublin 2

Scotland rugby fans , from left, Dave Cockburn, Fran Costello, Stevie Douglas all from Edinburgh about to be horrifically overcharged for liquor.



For the day that’s in it.

Saturday, 20th February, 1999.

The cusp of the BOD era.

Ireland travelled to England to face a then homeless Wales side. Big heavy handbags ensued.

Keith Duggan writing in the Irish Times said:

AH, the incomparable beauty of a Keith Wood smile. We have seen him in all his guises over the past two weeks, from the bleak figure in the blue mezzotint standing ruined in Lansdowne Road to his grinning, pale, headed colossus, gamley stoking the masses at the end of a sporting hour, which will be undoubtedly be rememberd as Wembley’s finest by everyone except, possibly, Geoff Hurst.


Six Nations International: Wales v Ireland (BBC Sport)

italy try

For the weekend that’s in it.

March 16th, 2013.

Italy, the dreaded banana skin of the 6 Nations, fells a stunned Ireland.

Gerry Thornley holding back his tears wrote:

The most dejected trudge yet from the dressingroom to the coaches in the tunnel of the Stadio Olympico fittingly resembled another scene from MASH. A dazed and Luke Marshall followed by Keith Earls, his arm tucked under his tracksuit top. Luke Fitzgerals went by on crutches, his leg entirely encased. The ravages of the Six Nations campaign will be felt for some time.
A host of new men have been thrust into this ravaged squad, with the carnage of Saturday providing them with scenarios that they could not of imagined or experiencing in their fledgling careers to date

Previously: Mi Fa Cagare

Retro Rugby on Broadsheet.ie


For the weekend that’s in it.

Saturday, March 3rd, 1979.

Ireland travelled to Scotland on a weekend when Edinburgh was dry due to a public service employees strike…

Highlights were few and far between.

Edmund Van Esbeck, writing in the Irish Times said:

A few inches of woodwork was destiny’s determining factor at Murrayfield on Saturday. With six minutes remaining, Colin Patterson crossed for a try in the right corner to bring the scores at 11 points all. Ireland’s ace marksman,

Tony Ward took the conversion attempt and the ball followed an erratic path to the posts, struck the upright and fell the wrong side. Thus, it was that, for the first time in three quarters of a century, Ireland and Scotland played a draw with each side, scoring two tries and a penalty goal…..

Laces out Tony.

Six Nations 2017 (RTÉ Sport)



For the weekend that’s in it.

November 17, 2001.

The era of the baggy jersey was drawing to a close and Irish voters kicked the Nice Treaty into touch.

Gerry Thornely wrote:

A hard one to swallow for this Irish team to have given themselves and a throbbing Lansdowne Road a real sight of a famous victory.

The men in black foraged in twos or even clusters, and usually offloaded even before going to ground. You have to wonder if Irish fatigue was a factor in just not getting support ruckers to the breakdown. But Gatland like the players was not having any of it. “I don’t want to repeat myself here, but that’s again down to the intensity they play at week, week out.”

A helluva game, it really was.

Final Score: Ireland 29 New Zealand 40

Previously: On The Blindside, This Could Be Drama


For the weekend that’s in it.

January 20th, 1973.

Snatching a draw from jaws of yet another defeat to the all-conquering All Blacks.

When some of the goys played twice a week such was the demands of the amateur game at the time.

Paul MacWeeney reported:

The All Blacks can kick themselves all the way back to New Zealand for allowing Ireland to snatch a draw, with two penalty goals and a try to a goal and a try, six minutes from the end at Lansdowne Road on Saturday.

Completley inflexable thinking cost Kirkpatrick and his team the glittering prize of becoming the first from their country to beat all four HOME countries on a single tour, and assuming that the captain is the final arbiter of policy once play has started,

Kirkpatrick, one of the greatest forwards of history, must shoulder much of the blame for not ending with a margain of at least 10 points.



Earlier that week,


The “good leg“.

Ireland v New Zealand (RTÉ Sport)

For the weekend that will be in it.

Saturday, March 15, 1986.

From champions to wooden spoon recipients in the space of a year.

At least Edmund van Esbeck was jovial, he wrote:

Often enough in Ireland’s history of involvement in international rugby, defeat has been a visitor to the door.

So Scotland won and gained a share in the championship with France. Ireland lost and take the wooden spoon, yet, in their play the won the crowds’ admiration, their vociferous support and left us considerably encouraged.


Final score: Ireland 9 Scotland 10

Retro Rugby on Broadsheet.ie


Gordon D’Arcy: Confident Scotland can tear up Ireland’s winning script

For the weekend that’s in it.

Saturday, February 16, 1974.

When the quarterback style toss into the line-out was the done thing.

Edmund Van Esbeck, writing in the Irish Times said:

Ireland’s total of 26 points was the highest yet recoded against England at any venue by an Irish side.

John Pullin was warm in his tribute to Ireland after the game: “the Irish pack is definitely in the veteran class and tired a little towards the end, but they are still a formidable proposition for any opposition.”

Previously: Cabbage Patch Kids

Retro Rugby on Broadsheet.ie

Video: Associated Press


Ireland 1972 5 Nations

For the weekend that’s nearly in it.

Saturday, January 29, 1972.

The final 5 Nations game between France and Ireland to be staged at Stade Colombes, Paris.

The championship that never was.

Five new Irish caps, all fine, young, inordinately hairy men, They heaved against the veterns de rugby francais and gritted it out for an historic and most unlikely victory (France 9 Ireland 14).

Paul McWeeney writing in the following Monday’s Irish Times said:

It was a sobering thought before the match, when asked if I had ever seen Ireland win at Colombes, to realise that, in fact, only myself and one or two other of my British press colleagues had ever had the pleasure, nor was I all that optimistic that I would ever see it again.


Previously: Frogger 1983

Retro Rugby on Broadsheet.ie

Photo credit: Lineout Coach


For the weekend that will be in it.

A look back at Saturday, April 4, 1987.

At the Cardiff Arms Park, Ireland put in an oddly schizophrenic performance but prevailed over Wales.

Edmund Van Esbeck writing (through rose tinted spectacles) in the Irish Times said:

A season that started with such bright promise and hope, but faltered in the midway period has ended in a triumph and triumph this was. Never has the appellation “the fighting Irish” been more appropriately applied to an Ireland rugby team..

..the heart of Irish rugby still beats with strong rhythm. It was a great day for the fighting Irish last Saturday.


Previously: How Green Was Their Valley?

Retro Rugby on Broadsheet.ie