Andrew Trimble says Ireland must get up and go at it again

History was made in Chicago last Saturday, but it was put to bed last night.
Andrew Trimble says Ireland must get up and go at it again

There was no time limit set but professional sport can only humour so much celebration and Joe Schmidt’s tight schedule had the expanded 39-man Ireland squad scanning profiles on Canada and attending a team meeting before lights out.

That all seems about right.

Roy Keane and Alex Ferguson are among those who have found that the warm glow of victory tends to be replaced all too soon by a hunger for the next hurdle but Ireland’s willingness to dwell on the defeat of the All Blacks is healthy.

“Getting that balance is important when you’ve achieved something like Saturday,” said Andrew Trimble, “that you try to enjoy it, let it sink it, spend some time with the guys you achieved it with. That’s special.”

Trimble spoke yesterday evening about how he hit the golf course with Rory Best at the team’s Carton House HQ after their early morning arrival in Dublin and how the pair still found themselves basking in the aftermath of that Soldier Field epic.

Quantifying what it is they have done hasn’t been easy.

Paul O’Connell, whose autobiography preceded the defeat of the All Blacks, wrote about his annoyance at the emphasis that supporters placed on Ireland’s ongoing failure to overcome the Kiwis.

Trimble didn’t cut an entirely identical line but he did hint at the importance which players still place on silverware when comparing this latest peak with the dramatic capture of the Six Nations title on French soil back in 2014.

Still, it must feel like choosing a favourite child.

“Just being in Chicago, just the buzz of the run-up into match day with the Cubs winning the World Series - and we were all massive Cubs fans by the end of the week. You get to the weekend and the place is covered in Irish.

“All the New Zealanders supporters leave the stadium and it is just pure Irish supporters and players, just smiling, clapping and waving, trying to enjoy the occasion and drink it in. You look back and you will remember a handful of occasions like that at most.”

Great memories.

All of them filed away for the grandkids come last night and the next chapter is just as enticing.

Gone is the supposed ‘free hit’ that Ireland enjoyed against the All Blacks last week. The scepticism, resignation and even fear that presaged the first meeting has been replaced with a giddiness and an eagerness to see if Ireland can back it up at Lansdowne Road on the 19th.

That’s pressure of a very different hue.

“A lot of sides can produce a big one-off performance but if we are going to challenge ourselves to be competing with these southern hemisphere teams, England, Wales, and we want to be one of the best teams around, then we have to back it up. That’s a big, big challenge.

“All your energy just goes into one massive, big effort and you just fall flat on the floor exhausted knowing that you have achieved something special.

“To get up and go at it again, put in the same amount of homework and train as hard and know the game plan inside out like we did is a challenge.”

There are no illusions as to the task second time around.

Few teams beat the All Blacks.

How many have managed it back-to-back? Pride has been dented, a world-record run cut off at full pelt but Trimble only has to think back to the summer for cues on how to handle a wounded animal like the Kiwis.

Ireland’s first Test defeat of South Africa on Bok soil, at Newlands last June, was met with a similar vein of delirium here and distaste over there and, try as they might, Ireland just couldn’t repeat the trick in a series which they went on to lose 2-1.

“Maybe we tried to shut up shop, close them down and try and squeeze the game into a bit of an arm wrestle at the end and sit on a lead.

“You can’t do that when you are playing the best teams in the world. You definitely can’t do that when you are playing the All Blacks. Maybe that is something that was a bit of a lesson for us.”

Trimble’s own winning run came to an end with defeat on the course yesterday to Best but he will no doubt appreciate the maxim about good golfers being able to win one Major while it takes a great one to do it again.

“It would be tempting and a mistake to get carried away and think we’re better than we are,” he warned.

Tone set.

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