The Inside Fileby Cillian Ó Conchúir
- ‘Final the only thing in our minds’ – Durcan
- McCarthy sees 4 minutes as Ireland make hard work of Macedonia
- Ireland Class leaves England's Grand Slam in Ruins as 24-8 defeat flatters Johnson
- Heaslip still holds faith in Irish system
- Gallant Ireland fall to defiant French
Ireland drew level at the top of Group B with Slovakia and Russia with a 2-1 win against Macedonia at Lansdowne Road. In a frantic opening, it took a minute 22, seconds for Aidan McGeady get Ireland off to the perfect start. Kevin Doyle nodded the ball down to himself after a high ball and laid the ball off to McGeady to the left of the D. The Spartak winger flicked the ball inside and fired the ball into the corner past the helpless Edin Nuredinoski, who got a hand to it but could not keep it out.
On six minutes after Ireland were in a familiar position again, this time on the right side with Damien Duff cutting inside and firing at Nuredinoski, who gathered the ball at the second attempt. It would be a similar story throughout the half as the Macedonian number 1 failed to gather a number of shots at the first attempt. And to Ireland's credit, they didn't sit back on and continued with an attacking mentality. Ten minutes in Nuredinoski was called into action again. This time McGeady played the ball wide to Kevin Kilbane who whipped in a cross for Doyle, whose header had the keeper scrambling to push the ball behind as Robbie Keane rushed in at the back post.
If there was a negative for Trappatoni it came when when Doyle went down and signaled straight away . The Wolves attacker seemed to and was replaced by .
Ireland left England's Grand Slam hopes in tatters when Martin Johnson's side were on the wrong side of a 24-8 hiding at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. For Declan Kidney, it is the prefect end to a somewhat disappointing Six Nations Championship and now looks to August when they take on Scotland, England and France twice before they begin their World Cup campaign against Eddie O' Sullivan and the United States in September.
English Indiscipline six minutes in set Ireland on their way with a Jonathan Sexton penalty. The referee adjudging the England to be offside and Sexton made no mistake to give Ireland a 3-0 lead. There was no sign of the shaky kicking that saw Sexton miss a penalty late in the game against Wales last week and Sexton added a second penalty 10 metres inside the left hand touchline, just outside the English 22 to edge Ireland to a 6-0 margin after 13 minutes.
On 20 minutes it looked as if Brian O'Driscol had crossed over and in doing so become the tournaments all time highest try scorer, with 25 tries but the touch judge said the pass that sent him clear was forward. The referee called play back however for an English infringement and Sexton made it 3/3 to send Ireland into a 9-0 lead.