DREAMS BY THE Cranberries rings across the Aviva Stadium. Standing close to the touchline shortly after the Eire squad had lifted the Six Nations trophy, the expertise supplies a better understanding of simply how loud it could actually get down at pitch stage as Josh van der Flier struggles to listen to a few of our questions.

It’s been a dream couple of months for the flanker. The present World Participant of the 12 months now has one other Six Nations medal in his pocket, and at the moment’s defeat of England means he’ll endlessly be a part of Irish Rugby historical past as a member of the primary Eire workforce to win a Grand Slam in Dublin.

“Very particular. I don’t assume it can sink in the entire week,” Van der Flier says, gold medal hanging off his neck.

“I’ve been making an attempt simply to arrange the way in which I’d for a standard sport, not take into consideration the implications of a win, I used to be simply making an attempt to play the sport. I’m certain it can sink in quickly sufficient however it’s extremely particular.

It’s an unbelievable feeling, simply a lot delight to play for this nation. To do it with this group is unbelievable. The assist has been unbelievable all through and it’s good to do it for them, and for our households all right here at dwelling.”

The win was made all of the extra sweeter given Eire needed to work for it in opposition to a cussed, if restricted England aspect. For lengthy intervals of an absorbing contest, England threatened to spoil the get together.

“They had been sensible, full credit score to them,” he continues.

“Clearly it’s powerful taking place a person with the purple card however they made it extremely powerful for us within the second half. Full credit score to the lads, we managed to tug by way of however it was a extremely good efficiency by England with their backs in opposition to the wall after dropping a person. They undoubtedly deserve credit score for a great sport however I’m completely thrilled to come back out with a win.

“We’ve had a little bit of adversity in video games all through this championship and it’s most likely comparable, however within the reverse method, in that the opposite workforce was down. Nevertheless it was making an attempt to remain calm and keep on with the system, to maintain performing and never chill out. That was the pleasing factor concerning the sport.

We’re simply thrilled to tug it out and get a win as a result of there was clearly a number of stress with everybody speaking a couple of Grand Slam. To attain it’s unbelievable.”

Everybody was speaking about Johnny Sexton, too. The Eire captain dominated most of the pre-game headlines as he ready to line out within the Six Nations for the final time, and at the moment the 37-year-old acquired the send-off the group had come to see – kicking 9 of Eire’s 29 factors.

“He’s a hero, what a person. I’m so comfortable for him. To see him going round with the trophies, together with his youngsters, all his household right here, he deserves each little bit of it and I’m so comfortable for him.”

Submit-game, each Sexton and Andy Farrell had been eager to emphasize that they hope there’s extra to come back from this workforce. They’ll take pleasure in tonight and have a good time this achievement however additionally they know there’s now an actual likelihood to do one thing particular at a World Cup.

“The main focus all alongside has been to maintain enhancing and getting higher,” Van der Flier continues. “We’ll hopefully push on however we’ll simply take pleasure in this for the second.”

Eire winger Mack Hansen solely made his Take a look at debut final yr. Now he’s a Grand Slam champion.

“It’s exhausting to place into phrases in the meanwhile. It’s a loopy feeling,” Hansen says.

Dan Sheridan / INPHO
Eire’s James Lowe, Eire’s Hugo Keenan, Eire’s Mack Hansen and Eire’s Jimmy O’Brien.

Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

“It’s simply been such an environment, it’s loopy. It’s totally different gravy, isn’t it. It’s like one thing I’ve by no means seen earlier than, it’s unbelievable. It simply exhibits how a lot Eire is behind us, and we find it irresistible.

“That is what footie is all about, connecting with folks within the stadium, it means as a lot to them because it does to us.

“It wasn’t our greatest sport however that’s purely as a result of England confirmed up, they performed unbelievable. Fourteen lads, to take it to us like they did, you possibly can’t say what they did wasn’t wonderful. We had been capable of simply maintain calm, composed, and pull a rabbit out of the hat.”

Many of the gamers had loads of household and buddies within the crowd however for Hansen, he’ll should meet up with a few late night time telephone calls.

“I’ve acquired my Mum’s brother (right here), and my auntie and uncle Gabe and Lorraine are over, and a few aunties and uncles up from Cork. One in every of my mates from Australia is over. I acquired sufficient household to take pleasure in, I want my Mum, Dad and brother had been right here.

“I’m simply shell-shocked. Strolling across the stadium was among the best moments of my life, that’s most likely the easiest way to sum it up.”

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