Spring is in the air. When it gets a bit warmer, I might reflect on that fact. For the time being, it is the Irish Rugby Football Union team which is providing the warm feeling.
Earlier this week, I highlighted Saint Patrick as a saint that straddled the sectarian divide. Rugby Union is very much in that mould. Could we get the Irish Rugby team to play in Northern Ireland?
At the moment, thanks to prevarication and obstruction by Northern Ireland politicians over the building of a stadium, that seems to be a distant dream. We heard a couple of months ago that the site of the Maze prison had been ruled out as a potential location. We now hear that Winsor Park is being considered. Whatever the location, politicians ought to get a move on and make a decision. Perhaps a successful Irish Rugby team will spur them on.
Tomorrow, the Irish team travel to play at the Cardiff Millennium Stadium. The form of Wales has dipped in the last two matches but it won’t be easy for Ireland to beat them. Home advantage will help the Welsh who still have an outside chance of winning the Six Nations title if they win by 13 or more points. Ireland will be hungry for the Grand Slam which they have not won since 1948.
If they are patient and if Ronan O’Gara is on form with his boot, I believe they will win. I don’t think they are likely to get a better chance to achieve the slam for a very long time.
Good luck to Brian O’Driscoll (left) and the rest of the Irish Team.