When he finally fluttered in Aviva last Thursday evening, he looked at that the domestic booths were mostly empty, which was left of the crowd that quickly descended the stairs. About 48 hours later, blowing a second final whistle at the same stage triggered unrest in ecstasy, as Ireland celebrated the victory over All Blacks.
The contrast could not be more cruel.
In one sport, Ireland in the second attempt will win the best team in the world, while in the other case, two baskets of split Ireland can not even reach themselves.
In the spring of 2015, I wrote an article about the Irish football and rugby competition, which aimed to make footballers relatively difficult to reach in terms of credit received from the Irish media and the public.
"It's easier to be the best in the world when" the world "comprises eight or nine countries," I wrote. "People agree with the player's quality judgment as to the results of the team they play in. The rugby results in Ireland were good so that the players get respect, recognition and praise.
"The results of football were not so good, so players are canceled as average. The huge competitive pyramid that any professional football player has is rarely taken into account to reach the international level. Many people are not aware of how brilliantly you have to become a mere footballer."
The point of departure remains true today as in 2015: the world of international football is bigger, worse and more competitive than international rugby. But it can no longer be argued that Irish football creates a prominent hub of competition in this more demanding international landscape.
We all understand that rugby has certain structural and economic advantages. Irish rugby players can have top professional careers at home, while our footballers are still exported to the Equine in the primary market in England, where they are increasingly seen as inferior products.
As Michael O & # 39; Neill told Michael Walker in Irish times interview last month: "What about them [English clubs] to connect Irish players? Is technical capability? It's always our fighting spirit. . . "
On the contrary, the Irish rugby exhibits athletes who are so powerful, skillful and tactically intelligent as everyone else. With young stars such as Jacob Stockdale and Jordan Larmour, rugby proves that Irishmen can also be fast today.
As Emmet Malone wrote last week, young Iraqi rugby players are often able to take advantage of top-notch sports facilities at rich private schools that produce many players, while the capacities available to most young footballers are relatively under-financed and carefree.
FAI's fight did not help. One way of assessing the dynamics of John Delaney's thirteen year-old regime is a comparison of how FAI funding over IRFU has occurred in the last decade.
In 2007 IRFU took over 48 million euros and FAI 45 million euros. By 2017 IRFU grew by 82 percent to 85 million euros, while FAI grew by 9 percent and reached 49 million euros.
Over the course of this year, it became apparent that the stunning and outdated thinking at the top of the national team was a big picture of the stagnation of Irish football.
When O & # 39; Neill asked why his team was not able to reach the last three games, he again said that the team missed the "shooter"
Compare how the two national coaches, Joe Schmidt and Martin O'Neill, analyzed the performance of their teams over the past few days.
When O & # 39; Neill asked why his team was not able to reach the last three games, he again said that the team missed the "shooter".
If you offer such a banal response as a television pundit, you will probably not be asked. But it's been several months since the Neill concept.
O & # 39; Neill agreed with the suggestion that players in the field do not show enough personality.
"It does not depend on tactics," he said. "This is related to playing the game with the neck and making it a sign."
But for the main trainers these days, the nebulous concept of "personality" has everything that is related to tactics. How can players expect to show conviction and character if they have no clear idea of what to do?
Think of the move that led to Ireland's attempts against New Zealand. The chance was caused by a sudden switch to the center, which mistakenly rejected the All Black defense and created a space on the left that Jacob Stockdale attacked.
Ireland did not try because the great Stockdale had a personality that she played on the throat of the neck and bent her in his will with the pure force of character. Stockdale took part in choreography, which was repeatedly practiced by Ireland on training. Joe Schmidt recorded the game while looking for new ideas at the provincial rugby in New York.
"I am always alert to this, and I always watch," said Schmidt on Saturday. "I'm looking at the Mithra 10 Cup and they always have some good ones. Recently, it was good for the Highlanders to play and told the trainers:" Maybe we can do it. ""
Hide the punch
Pep Guardiola is not known to be a rugby fan, but he would like to try Stockdale.
Marty Perarna describes how Pep told his players in Bayern in 2014: "In all team sports, the mystery is overloaded from one side of the pitch, so the opponent has to tilt his defense. Overload them on one side and draw them by staying on the other side weak.
Charlton's tactics did not have any taste, but at least he had a clear idea of what they would want his players to do
"And when we do all of this, we attack and record from the other side, so you have to give the ball, but only if you do it for a clear purpose. It's just that you overload your opponent to catch them and then hit the kick. our game. "
Understanding that one-sport work can be well-used in another, explains why the English rugby coach Eddie Jones went to Munich where he studied Bayern training in Guardiola. A similar impulse drives amateur GAA players to learn basketball tactics to help them play better Gaelic football.
There was also a time when Irish football was also tactically focused on the future. Jack Charlton went to the 1986 World Championship in Mexico and returned with ideas on how to fight the dominant orthodox; if everyone else used slow construction and a player, Ireland would use long balls to turn its back on and to push a high level.
Charlton's tactic was not for everyone's taste, but he had at least a clear idea of what he wanted his players to do, and that clarity could be related to the personality and character for which they became known.
Charlton understood that if a small country like Ireland succeeds, they need an idea. This is a lesson forgotten by today's generation of Irish football leaders.
And so we descend, wondering why our players no longer have any personality and blame our inability to achieve the lack of a magic shooter, not a lack of a plan.