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Reaction: O'Connell satisfied as focus turns to France

“We kept coming and coming and eventually broke them, which was satisfying.” said the Irish skipper.

Peter O'Mahoney is congratualted by his back row partners Stephen Ferris and Jamie Heaslip.
Peter O'Mahoney is congratualted by his back row partners Stephen Ferris and Jamie Heaslip.
Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

IRELAND COACH DECLAN Kidney says the focus in the Ireland dressing room, following their win over Italy, almost immediately switched to the France match next week.

“In the second half we did the simple things well and we would be delighted about that,” he said. “A bit of wearing down had to be done after the break and it eventually paid off.”

“The lads are so professional that they were already talking about the next match in the dressing room after the match,” Kidney added.

He expressed a satisfaction with the gradual introduction of new players to the talent pool and tipped flanker Peter O’Mahony to make a further impact in this year’s Six Nations.

Kidney commented, “Things will always be cyclical if you want to plan for the future. Peter made the big step today and Conor (Murray) came through last August. Donncha Ryan is getting the experience and Sean Cronin too. You need that mix of experience and youth.

“Peter has had the benefit of being in camp for five weeks and he is settling in and improving all the time. There will be more (caps) to come.

Irish captain Paul O’Connell noted that the pack is in good shape ahead of the match-up with Thierry Dusatoir and his French teammates next Sunday.

He said, “There is a feeling of frustration about the second-half performance. We didn’t execute a few simple things and didn’t get out of our half as we would’ve liked it.” O’Connell mentioned lost line-outs, squandered possession out wide and a penalty conceded as a box-kick was being set up.

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Classy

“When we did get out of our half we were good. We have a lot of classy, excellent players in the team and we showed that in the second half.

“We played for 80 minutes and we haven’t always done that. We kept coming and coming and eventually broke them, which was satisfying.”

Italian coach Jacques Brunel lamented the Jekyll and Hyde nature of his team’s performance. “There were two different (Italy) teams on the field,” he said, “We started the match well but suffered from Ireland pressure and made some frustrating mistakes.

Sergio Parisse said Ireland won the encounter thanks to an impressive second-half performance. The Italy captain added, “The final score is disappointing and does not reflect the real gap between the two teams.”

Kidney ended the press conference by paying tribute to Ronan O’Gara after the out-half won his record-breaking 118thcap for Ireland. “It is a fantastic achievement and he deserves it,” said Kidney, “and I’m sure there’s a few more there for him too.”

The coach added that Rob Kearney is the biggest injury concern with a slight groin strain, while Gordon D’Arcy and Cian Healy should be fine after incurring knocks.

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