Even though 21st century Irish folk are supposed to be mature enough to ignore a certain historical relationship too often corroded by republican propaganda, it still gladdens the heart to see Ireland trump its English neighbours on the sports field.
The bare statistics don't lie — two of Ireland's three Heineken Cup participants have qualified for the knock-out stages; for England, a measly one from seven progressed.
In a competition which ruthlessly exposes flaws, there is little argument that the eight quarter-finalists deserve their place. And still the English scratch their heads in bemusement and the seemingly damned unfairness of it all.
Guinness Premiership chief executive Mark McCafferty rightly argues that if the English clubs underachieve in Europe again next term — also World Cup year, as it happens — then there may be cause for anguish.
Still, that hasn't stopped a sense of gloating inflating Irish hearts as the bubble of self-congratulation emanating from the Guinness Premiership was so embarrassingly deflated in the greatest club competition in world rugby.
It is their worst quarter-final return in the history of the Heineken Cup. All the blame is laid squarely on the salary cap. Or relegation. Or the French Top 14 budgets. Or overseas players. Or the fact that the Magners League sides have it easy.
Very rarely do the inquisitors glance in the mirror.
London Irish coach Toby Booth slammed the conservative nature of so many in his league and that's where the real truth lies. Sadly, though, he ultimately sided with the jaded argument of Little England.
“Either we're not good enough, or the attritional element of a tournament as tough and relentless as the Premiership is taking its toll,” he said. “It's clear to me that, if you're playing in the Magners League rather than the Premiership or the French Top 14, it's easier to manage a European campaign.”
It was no surprise to witness Leinster coach Michael Cheika say: “No I don't think it gives us an advantage,” when asked whether sides like Munster and Leinster had it “easier” in relation to their English counterparts. “What do you prefer? Your players not playing lots of games and being fresh, or not having any lead-time into matches? Each system has its benefits and its disadvantages and I think you've just got to roll with the punches and prepare for what you've got.”
It is difficult to forget the wailing and gnashing of teeth that accompanied opening-round Heineken Cup pool defeats for both Leinster and Munster — as had also happened following a Lions tour four years ago. Last season, Leinster tottered before Christmas and supporters were calling for the coach's head; so, too, with Munster coach Tony McGahan this term.
This exposed the inherent risk attendant in the IRFU's delicate husbanding of its elite playing resources. The policy serves both international and provincial sides, even if it always seems slightly skewed at the start of a campaign; thankfully, recent evidence demonstrates that provincial and international teams feed off each other once the business end of the campaign rolls into view. The English have cottoned on to this, belatedly engaging club and country in an agreement which compensates the clubs for obligatory rest periods for their players. French clubs will always have large budgets and no country is immune from their plundering.
Irish rugby would not own a Grand Slam had Brian O'Driscoll decided to take the plunge in Biarritz. That he remained demonstrated the effectiveness of the IRFU's appreciation of their primary assets.
Irish players perform an average about a dozen games less than their English counterparts: they are centrally contracted, based in their own country and embark upon every campaign without the spectre of relegation haunting them.
There is a simpler reason why Ireland's players have out-performed England's — even when they have tried to cheat — on the European stage. At the moment, they're just better.