By Gary Watton
February 20 2014
England have unwittingly made grand slam near-misses something of a regular feature in the Five Nations/Six Nations. John Bull has famously fallen at the final hurdle no fewer than six times in the last 25 years, in 1990, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2011, and 2013. However, before the Oirish can smirk at England's misfortunes, there have been a number of similar Irish hard luck stories during the last century. In fact, Ireland has been presented with six opportunities to convert a grand slam and four times has failed to finish off the job. Here follows the four occasions when the Emerald Isle was unable to jump the final obstacle.
IRELAND 11 France 0; 23rd January; at Ravenhill
IRELAND 19 England 15; 13th February; at Lansdowne Road
Scotland 0 IRELAND 3; 27th February; at Murrayfield
Wales 11 IRELAND 8; 13th March; at Swansea
Ireland had to settle for a share of the championship with Scotland, after Wales came from 8-3 behind at the interval to deny a first Irish grand slam.
IRELAND 9 France 8; 27th January; at Lansdowne Road
IRELAND 3 England 0; 10th February; at Lansdowne Road
Scotland 5 IRELAND 6; 24th February; at Murrayfield
Wales 3 IRELAND 3; 10th March; at Cardiff Arms Park
A draw secured the championship but not a clean sweep. Ireland had won narrowly three times, and perhaps their luck had run out in the principality again.
IRELAND 17 France 9; 25th January; at Lansdowne Road
IRELAND 17 England 15; 8th February; at Lansdowne Road
Scotland 0 IRELAND 16; 22nd February; at Murrayfield
Wales 24 IRELAND 11; 8th March; at Cardiff Arms Park
For a third time, Ireland's grand slam dream was foiled in Wales. The hosts hadn't played in five weeks. They too would fall just short of a grand slam.
IRELAND 20 Wales 12; 23rd January; at Lansdowne Road
England 15 IRELAND 16; 6th February; at Twickenham
IRELAND 21 Scotland 12; 20th February; at Lansdowne Road
France 22 IRELAND 9; 20th March; at Parc des Princes
Perhaps the month-long wait between the last two matches counted against Ireland. Anyhow, they lost momentum and failed to end their jinx at this venue.