Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Ireland rugby fans celebrate a historic success

Ireland's glorious  Grand Slam: in pictures
Ireland's glorious Grand Slam: in pictures
Ireland's Ronan O'Gara kicks points during the Six Nations rugby union international match against Wales at the Millenium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi)
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll holds aloft the Six Nations trophy after his team beat Wales 17-15 in a Six Nations rugby union international match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. At right is Irish President Mary McAleese and at center Britain's Prince William. Ireland captured its first Grand Slam in the Six Nations for 61 years by beating Wales 17-15 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi, Pool)
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll holds aloft the Six Nations trophy after his team beat Wales 17-15 in a Six Nations rugby union international match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. At right is Irish President Mary McAleese. Ireland captured its first Grand Slam in the Six Nations for 61 years by beating Wales 17-15 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi, Pool)
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll holds aloft the Six Nations trophy after his team beat Wales 17-15 in a Six Nations rugby union international match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. Ireland captured its first Grand Slam in the Six Nations for 61 years by beating Wales 17-15 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi, Pool)
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll, right, embraces Geordan Murphy after his team beat Wales 17-15 in a Six Nations rugby union international match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. Ireland captured its first Grand Slam in the Six Nations for 61 years by beating Wales 17-15 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi)
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll holds aloft the Six Nations trophy after his team beat Wales 17-15 in a Six Nations rugby union international match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. Ireland captured its first Grand Slam in the Six Nations for 61 years by beating Wales 17-15 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Paul Thomas)
Ireland's Gordon D'arcy celebrates after his team beat Wales 17-15 in a Six Nations rugby union international match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. Ireland captured its first Grand Slam in the Six Nations for 61 years by beating Wales 17-15 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Paul Thomas)
Ireland's Tommy Bowe, center, and Brian O'Driscoll celebrate after beating Wales 17-15 in a Six Nations rugby union international match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. Ireland captured its first Grand Slam in the Six Nations for 61 years by beating Wales 17-15 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Paul Thomas)
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll celebrates after his team beat Wales 17-15 in a Six Nations rugby union international match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. Ireland captured its first Grand Slam in the Six Nations for 61 years by beating Wales 17-15 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi)
Ireland's Paul O'Connell, left, and Marcus Horan celebrate after beating Wales 17-15 in a Six Nations rugby union international match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. At right is Irish President Mary McAleese and at center Britain's Prince William. Ireland captured its first Grand Slam in the Six Nations for 61 years by beating Wales 17-15 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi)
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll holds aloft the Six Nations trophy after his team beat Wales 17-15 in a Six Nations rugby union international match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. Ireland captured its first Grand Slam in the Six Nations for 61 years by beating Wales 17-15 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Paul Thomas)
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll holds aloft the Six Nations trophy after his team beat Wales 17-15 in a Six Nations rugby union international match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. At right is Britain's Prince William. Ireland captured its first Grand Slam in the Six Nations for 61 years by beating Wales 17-15 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi, Pool)
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll holds aloft the Six Nations trophy after his team beat Wales 17-15 in a Six Nations rugby union international match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. Ireland captured its first Grand Slam in the Six Nations for 61 years by beating Wales 17-15 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Paul Thomas)
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll holds aloft the Six Nations trophy after his team beat Wales 17-15 in a Six Nations rugby union international match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. Ireland captured its first Grand Slam in the Six Nations for 61 years by beating Wales 17-15 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Paul Thomas)
Ireland coach Declan Kidney, centreleft, and Captain Brian O'Driscoll, centre right, display the Six Nations trophy, in Mansion House, Dublin, Ireland, Sunday, March, 22, 2009. The Irish Rugby Union team were welcomed home Sunday after clinching their first Grand Slam title for 61 years after their 15-17 victory over Wales Saturday. (AP Photo)
Ireland's Gordon D'arcy celebrates with the trophy after beating Wales 17-15 in a Six Nations rugby union international match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. Ireland captured its first Grand Slam in the Six Nations for 61 years by beating Wales 17-15 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi, Pool)
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll, 2nd left, celebrates after his team beat Wales 17-15 in a Six Nations rugby union international match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. Ireland captured its first Grand Slam in the Six Nations for 61 years by beating Wales 17-15 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi, Pool)
Wales captain Ryan Jones reacts after his team were beaten 17-15 by Ireland in a Six Nations rugby union international match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. Ireland captured its first Grand Slam in the Six Nations for 61 years by beating Wales 17-15 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi, Pool)
Ireland's Ronan O'Gara kicks the match winning drop goal during their Six Nations rugby union international match against Wales at the Millenium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Paul Thomas)
Ireland's Ronan O'Gara, left, reacts after kicking the match winning drop goal during their Six Nations rugby union international match against Wales at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi)
Ireland's Ronan O'Gara, left, reacts after kicking the match winning drop goal during their Six Nations rugby union international match against Wales at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi)
Ireland's Ronan O'Gara, in green, kicks the match winning drop goal during their Six Nations rugby union international match against Wales at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday March 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi)
Ireland play Wales in their Grand Slam decider, Cardiff, March 21, 2009
Ireland on their way to the Grand Slam, Cardiff, March 21. 2009
Ireland on their way to the Grand Slam, Cardiff, March 21. 2009
Ireland on their way to the Grand Slam, Cardiff, March 21. 2009
Ireland fans, Cardiff, March 21, 2009
Ireland play Wales in their Grand Slam decider, Cardiff, March 21, 2009
Ireland play Wales in their Grand Slam decider, Cardiff, March 21, 2009
Ireland play Wales in their Grand Slam decider, Cardiff, March 21, 2009
Ireland play Wales in their Grand Slam decider, Cardiff, March 21, 2009
Ireland play Wales in their Grand Slam decider, Cardiff, March 21, 2009
Ireland play Wales in their Grand Slam decider, Cardiff, March 21, 2009
Ireland play Wales in their Grand Slam decider, Cardiff, March 21, 2009
Rugby fans Conor Counihan and Paul Cronin in full voice outside Cadiff's Millennium Stadium as Ireland bids to win the Grand Slam for the first time in 61 years today.
In Pictures: Ireland's journey to the Grand Slam showdown
Ronan O'Gara
Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 on their way to the Grand Slam showdown with Wales
Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 on their way to the Grand Slam showdown with Wales
Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 on their way to the Grand Slam showdown with Wales
Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 on their way to the Grand Slam showdown with Wales
Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 on their way to the Grand Slam showdown with Wales
Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 on their way to the Grand Slam showdown with Wales
Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 on their way to the Grand Slam showdown with Wales
Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 on their way to the Grand Slam showdown with Wales
Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 on their way to the Grand Slam showdown with Wales
Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 on their way to the Grand Slam showdown with Wales
Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 on their way to the Grand Slam showdown with Wales
Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 on their way to the Grand Slam showdown with Wales
Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 on their way to the Grand Slam showdown with Wales
Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 on their way to the Grand Slam showdown with Wales
Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 on their way to the Grand Slam showdown with Wales
Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 on their way to the Grand Slam showdown with Wales
Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 on their way to the Grand Slam showdown with Wales
Ireland beat England 14-13 in a gritty game at Croke Park
Ireland beat England 14-13 in a gritty game at Croke Park
Ireland beat England 14-13 in a gritty game at Croke Park
Ireland beat England 14-13 in a gritty game at Croke Park

Cardiff was awash with green on Saturday night after Ireland's 17-15 win secured their first Grand Slam for 61 years in a dramatic last minute shoot-out with Wales.

Hours after Ireland's heroics, the streets in central Cardiff were clogged with Irish fans celebrating their team's historic success. A crowd of 74,645 thronged the imposing Millennium Stadium to see one of the Six Nations Championship's most exciting finishes as Irish out-half Ronan O'Gara dropped a goal with three minutes left on the clock to give his side a two point lead after the home support had seen Wales take a single point lead minutes before.

But even more drama followed, as with the final kick of the game Stephen Jones had the chance to steal it for Wales but his kick just fell under the crossbar and the huge Irish support in the impressive stadium erupted as Ireland secured a clean sweep of titles; their first Slam since 1948, a first Championship title since 1985 and a fourth Triple Crown success from the last five years.

Ulster and Irish rugby legend Jack Kyle (83), who played on that first Irish side to win the Slam at Ravenhill in Belfast, was there to witness the moment Irish captain Brian O'Driscoll received the Six Nations trophy and Triple Crown to an emotional reception from Irish fans.

Second half tries from |O'Driscoll and Ulster exile Tommy Bowe set Ireland on their way after trailing 6-0 at the break, but they needed O'Gara's 77th minute drop goal to take the game.

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