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Ireland full-back Kearney hails brilliant performance from 'Gazza' Madigan

Published 12/10/2015

Ian Madigan, centre, has been dubbed Paul Gascoigne by his Ireland team-mates
Ian Madigan, centre, has been dubbed Paul Gascoigne by his Ireland team-mates

Ian Madigan has been branded Ireland's Paul Gascoigne after his tearful reaction to Sunday's 24-9 World Cup victory over France.

Fly-half Madigan bawled his eyes out at the final whistle of Ireland's biggest victory over France since 1975, that secured a quarter-final against Argentina.

The Leinster pivot stepped squarely out of Johnny Sexton's shadow after the British and Irish Lions fly-half trudged out of the France clash with a groin strain.

Madigan bossed Ireland's backline to come of Test-match age, drawing comparisons from his team-mates with former England midfielder Gascoigne's famous waterworks at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy.

"Yeah the boys are calling him Gazza inside there!" said full-back Rob Kearney.

"I think it was a day where Ian Madigan really stood up for us.

"We needed him to come on and really take control of things and he did, it was brilliant."

Gascoigne's tears were shed in frustration at receiving a yellow card that would have ruled him out of the final, as England battled a semi-final with West Germany.

The Germans triumphed on penalties in Turin that night, with Gazza not the only England star to shed a tear.

Madigan's Millennium Stadium moment was for altogether different reasons, the magnitude of his performance hitting home as referee Nigel Owens sounded full-time.

The ever-popular 26-year-old has drawn fine praise from his team-mates, but Rob Kearney conceded Ireland can ill afford to dwell on a job well done against Les Bleus.

Ireland will face Argentina in Cardiff in Sunday's quarter-final, with full-back Kearney warning Joe Schmidt's men not to get ahead of themselves.

Ireland topped their pool at World Cup 2011, only to fall foul of a rampant Wales in a 22-10 quarter-final defeat - and Kearney is determined not to let history repeat itself.

"We were here four years ago and topped the group," said Kearney.

"Everyone thought we were brilliant, we thought we were brilliant and we went out and got pumped by a really good Wales team.

"So we don't have much time to sit around and think about this great performance we had yesterday, we have to move on really quickly.

"Bar the Australians the Argentinians have probably been the most impressive side.

"Their ability to score points has been very, very strong throughout the tournament.

"We've got to make sure we're next-task focused as quickly as we can be.

"We're a very different team from four years ago.

"Our mental strength on how we approach games on a week-to-week basis has improved massively.

"And again this will be a big test for us in terms of how much of a week-to-week team we actually are."

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