Well, that’s it then. Ireland’s World Cup is just about over.
After a decent enough start, Ireland just fell apart. They were not helped by the fact that referee Chris White was to all intents and purposes wearing a blue jersey all through the first half. He gave us nothing and pinged Irish players for anything that looked vaguely like a foul.
But the blame for Ireland’s defeat lies squarely with the men on the pitch and the coach. The line-out was a disaster. O’Callaghan should have been hauled off at half-time. O’Gara had another shocker. We have no back-up outhalf, so we would have been stuck with him whatever happened.
What is the point of appointing players to the bench, if the coach has absolutely no intention of using them? Gavin Duffy was never going to come on, but it was clear by the fourth quarter that Andrew Trimble was having a crisis of confidence. And the man that could have replaced him was in the stands.
So we face Argentina next week, and will have to bust a gut to beat them in order to come second in the group. If we do that, we’ll face the All Blacks in Cardiff, and oblivion.
This World Cup is a write-off for Ireland. We went in as genuine contenders and come out as minnows.
The wilderness years beckon.