The42 Rob Kearney joins us in studio for The Front Row
# Le Drop
'The most euphoric moment I ever experienced as a player': Ireland rugby legend Rob Kearney
The now retired fullback was speaking on the first episode of our new show, The Front Row.

IRELAND DIDN’T GET the result they were after against France on Saturday, but few Irish teams have come away from Paris with victory. 

Perhaps the most dramatic of wins at the Stade de France took place four years ago, when Johnny Sexton’s last-second drop goal set Joe Schmidt’s men on their way to the Grand Slam. 

Playing fullback for Ireland that day was Rob Kearney, who this week appeared as the first guest on The42′s brand new rugby show The Front Row, in partnership with Guinness.

The Louth native chatted to host and comedian Seán Burke, The42 rugby writer Murray Kinsella and Ireland international Eimear Considine about this year’s Guinness Six Nations, his time in Australia, making a short-lived return to Gaelic football, life after rugby and his on-field memories of what is now famously known as ‘Le Drop’. 

johnny-sexton-kicks-the-winning-drop-goal James Crombie / INPHO Johnny Sexton lets fly in Paris. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

“That was incredible,” Kearney said, looking back on Ireland’s opening match of the 2018 championship. “That was probably the most euphoric moment that I’ve ever experienced as a player.

“To snatch a victory, last gasp… [Ronan] O’Gara’s drop goal in 2009 was quite similar, but there was still another 90 seconds, two minutes of play after that.

“That real high at the end of a game, a last-minute winning kick… that was, without doubt, the most incredible moment that I’ve ever been involved in.”

As the ball left Sexton’s boot, Kearney and the rest of his team-mates stood motionless to watch it in flight. However, one Irish player opted to sprint towards the goal in the off-chance that the kick dropped short and came back off the crossbar.

johnny-sexton-celebrates-kicking-the-winning-drop-goal-with-teammates Dan Sheridan / INPHO Kearney and the Ireland players celebrate with Sexton. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

“I always look back on the pile on, and Keith Earls was chasing the drop kick,” Kearney continues.

So when Johnny kicked, we all stopped to look at it and Keith Earls chased in case it came off the upright, which was an unbelievably smart thing to do.

“Every time I look at that pile on, I’m like ‘I should have been chasing that in case it came off the upright’, because if it had and we’re all standing still we’ve not done our job.

“I switched off for maybe two or three seconds just watching it in the air. I always think had it come off the upright and he [Earls] was the only man there on his own, what would have happened?”

johnny-sexton-and-rob-kearney-celebrate-after-the-game Dan Sheridan / INPHO Rob and (left) Johnny Sexton at the final whistle. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Ireland legend Rob Kearney joined host Seán Burke, Murray Kinsella and Eimear Considine for the first episode of The Front Row, in partnership with Guinness. Rob ​​speaks about his most euphoric moment in a green jersey, life after retirement, a “brutal” return to the GAA pitch, and his skincare routine. Click here to subscribe:

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