VIDEO: Agony mars the ecstasy in mixed day for Irish teams

After the visceral thrill of Cardiff came last night’s torment in Warsaw.

Don’t worry, though — Ireland’s roller-coaster ride is just getting started. The nation’s rugby heroes must picked battered bodies off the floor for a quarter-final against a daunting Argentina team next Sunday after topping World Cup Pool D. Joe Schmidt’s giants in green beat France 24-9 at the Millennium Stadium, but the cost of the victory could be huge.

Talismans Johnny Sexton, Paul O’Connell, and Peter O’Mahony all suffered injury, while man of the match Sean O’Brien could be cited for an off-the-ball punch.

“Paul is the one who worries me most,” Schmidt said. “It doesn’t look great with Paul. It’s an upper hamstring. We’ll wait until Monday for the scan and the inflammation to go down.”

On the O’Brien incident, Schmidt added: “He was being held at the time. He swung but I don’t think he was looking directly at the player but it’s not for me to determine. It’s not a closed fist.”

Ireland fans celebrate a momentous victory at the final whistle in Cardiff.
Ireland fans celebrate a momentous victory at the final whistle in Cardiff.

For Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland, the purgatory of the play-offs loom for place at the Euro 2016 finals in France. A 2-1 loss last night in Poland at the hands of marksman Robert Lewandowski consigned the boys in green to two-legged torment in November. Possible opponents include Ukraine, Croatia, Denmark, and Sweden.

No such logistical complications for Irish rugby hordes. They’ve Cardiff on speed dial at this stage.

Momentarily, though, everyone draws breath as 55,000 Irish fans troop home tormented yet thrilled. With fresh horses and replenished supplies, they’ll rejoin the battle.

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