Ireland's rugby heroes celebrated All Blacks victory in a trad bar with Robbie Keane 3 weeks ago

Ireland's rugby heroes celebrated All Blacks victory in a trad bar with Robbie Keane

Sounds like a top, top night.

Saturday, November 17th 2018 will go down as one of the great nights at Lansdowne Road (the Aviva Stadium) for many years to come.

Ireland stepped up to face New Zealand, the world number one side and two-time reigning world champions, and a side that had not lost in Europe in six years. Joe Schmidt's men are Grand Slam champions, of course, but toppling the All Blacks at home for the first time in Ireland's rugby history would still be a mighty task.

Brodie Retallick, Aaron Smith, Sam Whitelock, Owen Franks, Kieran Read, Sam Whitelock and Rieko Ioane were all in the AB's starting line-up, while Ireland were shorn of star talents such as Conor Murray, Sean O'Brien and Robbie Henshaw.

The first half was an absolute war but Ireland got daylight between both sides when Jacob Stockdale scored a wonder try, early in the second half. Ireland deserved their 16-9 lead but were forced to dig in for the final quarter. All 23 players were required to front up, and that they did.

Following the final whistle, and a mini lap of honour, the Irish players all headed back to the dressing rooms to toast their victory together.

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Them the moments!! 🍀

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It did not take long before several New Zealand players knocked for admittance. A couple of drinks were shared but they were brief enough moments. Both sets of players agreed they would all catch up properly at the post-match banquet at The Shelbourne Hotel.

A few players traded jerseys, with TJ Perenara swapping with Bundee Aki and Damien McKenzie getting hold of (his opposite number) Rob Kearney's No.15.

Post-match media and corporate duties done, the All Blacks were first to leave the ground to head towards The Shelbourne. Ireland were not far behind.

Outhalf Cathal Marsh was in touch with his friends, and former Leinster teammates, Luke McGrath and James Ryan afer they helped down the All Blacks. He told Baz & Andrew's House of Rugby some details of what sounds like an epic night.

Marsh watched the 16-9 from home, as he prepares for his move to Rugby United New York, and was loving the performance, and fist pumps, of his former Leinster teammate Johnny Sexton.

"I think he is one of the only 10s who can be a bit insane and play on the edge, and still make the right decisions," said Marsh.

As for the likes of McGrath and Ryan, Marsh was kept abreast of their movements after the banquet wrapped up. The night, it seems, was still young. Marsh commented:

"Luke ended up in a traditional bar that was playing Irish music, at one stage, with a few of the other players and a few friends. It seemed like a really good night."

McGrath and his Irish teammates were joined in that trad bar by none other than Irish footballing legend, and the nation's all-time leading goalscorer, Robbie Keane. The Dubliner likes a good trad session himself and helped the Irish boys sing along to some of the classics, from the Wolfe Tones and The Dubliners.

Ireland's rugby stars rightly took front and centre at the weekend and it was so nice to see sporting stars of the previous generations paying homage to Joe Schmidt's remarkable set of men.

Take it as read.

Heady days for Irish rugby. Great to see the likes of Robbie Keane and Paul McGrath are fully behind this Irish team.