Scorned and covered with scars, we strove with our last ounce of courage, to reach the unreachable star… to right the unrightable wrong… to fight the unbeatable foe… to run where the brave dare not go… to ride into hell for a heavenly cause… And lose. Again. We did. Continue reading
I’ve read a lot of sports psychology over the last year so I know this is basic stuff and I just have to accept I got it badly wrong. I should know better. I built things up too much in my head, put too much pressure on myself, and got into how big the whole thing was, dug myself into a hole. I should have just trusted my processes, trusted my body’s muscle memory, all those hours of practice, my body knew what to do. Just let it flow. That’s being ‘in the zone.’
Game 1 vs England
First match up was against England on the pitch I made my Ireland debut on in 2011… against England. This was the advice I got from a friend by text before that game. ‘Everything is going to happen at such speed you won’t realise what’s happening to you. You’ve got to be ready for it… Hit it from the start like a hurricane!’ Continue reading
This time last year we had just lost in a drop off (extra time – each team down to 4 players) in the European Championship final to England… Continue reading
A sporting rival I had in another sport, who I sort of liked and sort of didn’t, once said to me, ‘Think of anything that is meaningful to you in your life. It’s always shared in some way with people you care about.’ (I liked him when he said interesting things like that. I didn’t like him, for example, when he kept pushing into me from behind in a long queue at Dublin airport customs late one Sunday night recently, and blanked me when I nodded hello to him.)
So, a week on from the end of the tournament, I’m thinking of the people who shared the journey of the tournament together. That’s what made the defeat in the final hurt, how much you cared about it, cared about it with these people. Continue reading
Quoting Legolas (referring to one of the incidents mentioned below) ‘For me the grief is still too near’ (in my case, to talk about losing in the Final of the Euros.) I’ll write something tomorrow. In the meantime, to cheer myself up, I made my Top 12 List of Sporting & Other Emotional Traumas. These are things that rocked me to my core at one point or another in my life. (Only time will tell where the Euros end up on this list but right now they’re firmly up there at Number 1.)
No. 12 Empire Strikes Back
We lost the final to England 6-5 in a drop off… (Basically, when it’s a draw at the end of full time, each team goes down to 5 players, after another two minutes, each team drops to four players and then to 3 players each and the first to score wins.) It was 5-5 at full time.
I’ll write something tomorrow but right now I’m devastated. The way I’d describe it is that I keep going from room to room in my head but I don’t want to stay in any of them so I just keep going round and round and I can’t find any comfort anywhere.
I think that’s all I can say at the moment.
First game up vs France this morning. We had to win this game to have any chance of making the final. Remember how we lost to them 8-7 on Day 1…
Remember too if any extra motivation was needed how we lost to France in the football Euros a couple of weeks ago…
England 8 Ireland 8
‘2 minute warning…’ says the announcer.
What runs through your mind as you stand on the pitch before the start of an international game?
I’d decided that my only pre-game thought for today to get me in a proper mindset would ‘This is a final. I love finals.’
Game 1 vs the hosts Jersey. Won 9-4.
Game 2 vs France. Lost 8-7.
Game 3 vs Wales. Won 9-7.
I scored 2 tries.
Those are the facts of how the day went. Continue reading