By Gary Watton
January 29 2014
I don't want to sound like an England football follower mentioning 1966 for the umpteenth time, but with the Six Nations fast approaching, I guess that it's time to get a little nostalgic for former glories - and one in particular! Irish grand slams are as frequent as Halley's Comet, so pardon me for reminiscing, a little.
Ireland began their triumphant campaign with a rare win in Paris at the Stade de Colombes on New Year's Day, which in itself must have represented a good omen. Jim McCarthy obtained a try on his international debut, but France did at least score two of their own in the second half, after trailing ten-nil at the interval, which was a sizeable lead in those [three points for a try] times.
The Oirish then waited six weeks for their next conquest when they scraped home by eleven points to ten at Twickenham on Saint Valentine's Day, with neither team presumably declaring too much romantic affection for one another. Dickie Guest scored a try in each half for the hosts, but Ireland recorded two tries after the combatants were deadlocked at five points each at the interval. Debutant Dick Uren converted both of Guest's tries, but the Irish had most cause to celebrate at the end. With two difficult away trips negotiated, the Emerald Islanders were halfway to paradise!
Two weeks later, Jackie Kyle and Barney Mullan recorded two second-half tries after a scoreless first half to ensure a triumph in Dublin, at home to Scotland.
Finally, the icing on the cake was provided on the thirteenth of March, at Ravenhill, in front of thirty-two thousand people, when Barney Mullan helped himself to another try, but Wales kept the hosts in suspense as they restricted the home team to a narrow six points to three win. At last, an elusive grand slam had been grasped. It didn't quite prove to be the dawning of a new era, in spite of a triple crown the following year. Instead, Ireland slipped back into erratic mode thereafter and continued to be the bookmakers' friend, with various wins against the odds and defeats when victory was otherwise anticipated. Consequently, the Oirish faithful had to wait until 2009 for a re-enactment of the heroics of 1948.
The results were:
France 6 IRELAND 13; January 1st
England 10 IRELAND 11; February 14th
IRELAND 6 Scotland 0; February 28th
IRELAND 6 Wales 3; March 13th