Ireland
Ireland in the Five Nations of 1985
By Gary Watton
April 13 2013

Like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes, the Ireland rugby team emerged as if by magic to be in the ascendancy in European rugby, albeit for a brief season. A second triple crown was obtained in an unbeaten campaign. Only a 15-15 home draw with France prevented a Grand Slam, but to be fair to les Bleus, they did score the only two tries on that occasion. With Paul Dean installed at fly half, the plan was to unleash our pacy back division. The results were more than satisfactory! Up front, the great Duggan, Keane, McLoughlin, O'Driscoll, and Slattery had exited the stage. The new personnel however hit the ground running as Ireland had a quick pack, to complement the speedy back division. The new back row triumvirate of Carr, Matthews, and Spillane particularly caught the eye while the larger than life Willie Anderson also contributed to Ireland's resurgence. Only sixteen players started in Ireland's four matches, a fact which clearly lent to the stability and consistency of this fine campaign. Remarkably, last season's Grand Slammers, Scotland, had to sup from a whitewashed wooden spoon this time around.

SCOTLAND 15 IRELAND 18; 2nd February; at Murrayfield

15 MacNeill

14 Ringland [2 TRIES]

13 Mullin

12 Kiernan [drop goal, penalty, 2 conversions]

11 Crossan

10 Dean

9 Bradley

8 Spillane

7 Carr

6 Matthews

5 Anderson

4 Lenihan

3 McCoy

2 Fitzgerald (c)

1 Orr

It took a late try in the corner by winger Trevor Ringland to snatch a well-earned victory, after a great passing movement.

IRELAND 15 FRANCE 15; 2nd March; at Lansdowne Road

15 MacNeill

14 Ringland 

13 Moroney

12 Kiernan [5 penalties]

11 Crossan

10 Dean

9 Bradley

8 Spillane

7 Carr

6 Matthews

5 Anderson

4 Lenihan

3 McCoy

2 Fitzgerald (c)

1 Orr

France achieved a try in each half, courtesy of Codorniou and Esteve, but they were penalised five times for indiscretions.

WALES 9 IRELAND 21; 16th March; at Cardiff Arms Park

15 MacNeill

14 Ringland [TRY]

13 Mullin

12 Kiernan [3 penalties, 2 conversions]

11 Crossan [TRY]

10 Dean

9 Bradley

8 Spillane

7 Carr

6 Matthews

5 Anderson

4 Lenihan

3 McCoy

2 Fitzgerald (c)

1 Orr

A try in each half from Ulster duo Ringland and then Crossan secured impressive Ireland's first win in Cardiff since 1967.

IRELAND 13 ENGLAND 10; 30th March; at Lansdowne Road

15 MacNeill

14 Ringland

13 Mullin [TRY]

12 Kiernan [2 penalties, drop goal]

11 Crossan

10 Dean

9 Bradley

8 Spillane

7 Carr

6 Matthews

5 Anderson

4 Lenihan

3 McCoy

2 Fitzgerald (c)

1 Orr

A second-half try by Rory Underwood threatened to ruin the party, but Kiernan slotted home a famous late drop goal.