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Green flame is lit for Irish rugby

WHEN you acquit yourself with honour, dignity and courage in the face of overwhelming force, it is difficult to entertain the concept of defeat (Sport, November 25).

The performance of Ireland against the All Blacks was, in my opinion, the best by an Irish team in the last 50 years.

And it is ours to savour. I have left Lansdowne Road after Irish victories that were less noble than this defeat.

The soothsayers examining the entrails in their attempt to get a glimpse of a divine plan that brought us so near, and yet so far, are none the wiser.

All of that suggests an epic encounter was present. There was heroism in the tackle, fierce intensity in collisions and passion in purpose.

If Ireland were spellbindingly magnificent, the All Blacks were quite sublime. Even having been blown away, they refused to lie down.

But don't be downhearted; for a short while we saw greatness. Have no truck with what-might-have-beens; relish what we have. And what is yet to come.

Take heart – the green flame has been lit. And there is as yet a season to catch fire before us.

M R O'BRIEN

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