Declan Kidney has promised Ireland fans a Grand Slam - the new coach just doesn't know when it will arrive. The new Irish coach can't wait to get his teeth into his first Six Nations championship as boss in his own right. Munster's double Heineken Cup winner is well aware that expectations will be huge when the season opens against France on Saturday. Kidney is in no doubt that Ireland will eventually deliver the Grand Slam that has been beyond his predecessors in the professional era but he has told supporters to be patient. "At some time in the future Ireland will win a Grand Slam and we will win a championship," promised Kidney. "I don't know when that will be. Be that this year or next year, it would be brilliant if it happened in our lifetime, wouldn't it? "We're just trying to shorten the distance between when we won it last and when we'll win it again. If it happens within the lifetime of this squad then better again. That's what we'll try to do." Kidney has also laughed off suggestions that Ireland will be relaxed in the role of underdogs this season. "We've never won it in the professional era, so there's no pressure! There is always pressure," insisted Kidney. "When you represent your country you want to represent it to the best of your ability and if you do that, then you'll be a success. "But you can't say how good the opposition will be on any given day so given that it's a sport the other team might just play an A game. If they do that and they're better, then we'll shake their hands. "Experience has taught me that you have to have all the ingredients to win - you need to play well, you need to play better than the opposition on any given day and you need a little bit of luck." The Leesider also reminded Irish fans that rugby is not the national sport as the country awaits the arrival of France on Saturday week. "The French have 14 professional teams to pick from, we have four," added Kidney. "The reality is like some of the others we're not a huge country. It's not the first game in our country, and we have a lot of good sports people who roll up to different matches. "A lot of those who go to Croke Park on Saturday week will also go to Croke Park this Saturday for Dublin against Tyrone in the National Football League. "That is the reality of it in our country but the great thing is that every country can only put 15 guys out on the pitch and I would have huge belief in the squad of players I work with to say we can compete with them and that's what we'll look to do. "Because we have such a sporting nature about us in Ireland, if we roll up and give it our best shot the supporters will come in behind us. Then, who knows?"
USS Michael Murphy, named after Irish American Navy SEAL hero, heading toward Korea