PAUL O’CONNELL said that Ireland didn’t play to their potential in their World Cup quarter-final against Wales on Saturday morning but had no complaints after bowing out of the World Cup in New Zealand.
“We just failed to play to our potential,” said O’Connell after the 22-10 loss to Wales in Wellington. “We’re an excellent side but we’re not the type of team that can play below par and expect to beat teams, especially at this stage of the competition. It’s disappointing.”
O’Connell’s third World Cup ended in disappointment again but the Limerick man won’t have much time to recover as Munster’s Heineken Cup campaign begins in early November.
Munster’s next game in the RaboDirect Pro12 isn’t until October 28 - when they take on Aironi in Musgrave Park - but their season steps up in intensity the following Friday, November 4, when they take on Leinster in the Aviva Stadium before hosting Northampton eight days later in the opening round of the Heineken Cup.
Munster lost 17-13 to the Ospreys in Thomond Park on Saturday but they still sit in second place after the opening six rounds.
Meanwhile, Ireland manager Declan Kidney has said the players will bounce back after this latest disappointment.
“It will be a hard one to take, there’ll be a few long days,” he said. “But they’re good men, they’ll rise again and that’s all that you can ever do in life.”
Elsewhere, on the local rugby scene, it was a great weekend for the Limerick clubs in the Ulster Bank League. Garryowen beat last year’s champions Old Belvedere 30-25 while Shannon beat last year’s finalists Cork Con on a scoreline of 14-10.
Young Munster lost 16-15 to Clontarf away but UL Bohs, Bruff and Old Crescent all won while Thomond drew with Old Wesley.
See our extensive rugby coverage on Pages 30-31