Belfast Telegraph

Billy on the Box: It's a Grand day out down in Dublin

By Billy Weir

You find before you a troubled, angry man and, frankly, my gast couldn't be more flabbered, my found more dumbed or my smack more gobbed if I tried.

The cause of my consternation? Ireland's victory over England in Saturday's RBS Six Nations finale.

Now, you'll be expecting me to go off on an anti-English rant, but all in good time my friends, there are targets closer to home that need a clearing up first.

The boys in green, on St Patrick's weekend, sent the English home to think again and sparked the sort of celebrations not witnessed in these parts since our slithery friends (snakes, not the English) slipped off into the sea back in the fifth century.

They also sent the All Blacks south, albeit via Chicago, back in November with a memorable victory to end New Zealand's unbeaten run. The common denominator of both wins? They didn't really matter.

For as the hangovers lift and leprechaun hats are put on top of the wardrobe for another year, England and New Zealand can look at the pieces of silverware they have on the mantelpiece and not a half-full pint glass with a suspicious liquid in it and the remnants of a kebab.

And Mark Pougatch was up for a party on ITV as we joined him in Temple Bar on Saturday evening.

"England are on the brink of history, a record 19th win on the trot today would secure back-to-back Grand Slams," he told us, and we yawned and pretended we didn't care. "But Ireland have pride to play for and on a wet and windy (that may have something to do with the kebab) St Patrick's weekend here in Dublin that could count for an awful lot." Cue the diddly-di music and off we went.

Ireland were trailing 3-1 early on, Brian O'Driscoll ploughing a lone green furrow surrounded by Pougatch, Sir Clive Woodward and Lord help us Jonny Wilkinson in this pale imitation of an English enclave in Dublin 4.

"If we aren't going to be challenging for a Championship ourselves on the final day, the next best thing is to ruin it for someone else. It fits that remit," explained BOD, and we nodded, but are we not better than this now?

"Ireland do love playing against England, love beating England and that comes from the history of the country and that goes back long before our time," he added, and I've checked, Ireland did indeed exist before BOD was created in 1979.

Down on the pitch it was another 3-1 split, this time BOD's old partner in the central crime unit, Gordon D'Arcy, taking on Martin Bayfield, Lawrence Dallaglio and Maggie Alphonsi, named after several characters from Happy Days, and she told us it was all about a tea cup. I was confused. It turns out it was TCUP - Think Calm Under Pressure - but what better to go with a nice cup of tea than a nice piece of cake. Go on, go on, go on.

"Winning that trophy is the cake, but winning a Grand Slam is the icing on the cake and the cake tastes a lot sweeter with icing on top," added Dallaglio as the Great British Bake Off producers' ears pricked up.

Commentator Nick Mullins had no pastries or tea, just a snazzy scene-setting line he was desperate to get out despite Pougatch repeatedly giving us updates from Wales' game with France that was deep in injury-time.

"The concluding chapter of the Six Nations, a story maybe of Grand Slammers and of history-makers or perhaps Irish dream-breakers," said Mullins, as the game in Paris entered its third day.

And then it was all over. Not in Paris, but in Dublin.

"England's Grand Slam bubble bursts against a green wall, there will be no record-breaking 19th win in a row and Ireland are at it again, from Chicago to Dublin, the dream killers," concluded Mullins.

Indeed they are, but England can have their cake and eat it, even though Ireland took a bite out of it, but for the boys in green, sure it was a Grand weekend and we can have a nice cup of tea and next year be MUGS - Mighty Unparalleled Grand Slammers. Well, if France and Wales get finished in time.

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph