Whether it’s Storm Lorenzo or our rugby team, Irish people are, by nature, a pessimistic bunch. We don’t ever like to appear too confident in ourselves and the best way to prepare is to prepare for the worst. It feels already that’s the way people are starting to view a quarter-final against the All Blacks or the Springboks.
My Ireland debut came in Jamie Heaslip's number 8 jersey after he'd been sent off against the All Blacks the week before. Irish Rugby's Mr Indestructible famously didn't miss many games so thereafter almost all of my starts in the green jersey came with Jamie packing down next to me.
It's a different game now than the one I played when I first came through. I was sure of it the day I retired and the mistake of omitting Devin Toner from Ireland's squad for the World Cup yesterday only goes to further my point.
I couldn't bring myself to watch the 2015 PRO12 final. Living close to Kingspan Stadium, I could see the floodlights from my house, see the Munster and Glasgow fans making their way to the ground, and even hear the cheers if I opened the windows.
When it comes to this time of year, the end-of-season party is something of a misnomer. First of all, I can't remember the last time we didn't have the bitter taste of another season without silverware fresh in the mouth so party probably isn't the right word.
In all its many guises, the PRO14 has never witnessed a fairytale like Connacht's title win of 2016, and I'm sure Leinster felt there wasn't a soul outside of blue blood country that wanted them to win that day in Murrayfield.
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