‘Over the moon’: John Anderson still can’t believe that Johnny Sexton’s last gasp kick won him €4,000 Picture: Adrian Butler
AFTER betting €10,000 on Ireland to beat France, John Anderson shouted something similar to “ruck” when Les Bleus scored a late try.
The well-known Doon gambler's misery was compounded when France won a penalty to go four points up. It went wide. John’s wager was still alive, just.
“Ireland were still on their own 22. I didn’t think there was any hope. Johnny Sexton kicked off like Dan Carter would and Ian Henderson caught it,” said John. Phase after phase went by until Keith Earl’s caught Sexton’s cross kick and accelerated into the French half. John crept a bit forward on his chair.
“I started getting a small bit of hope but they were still just over half way. I was thinking how can they go phase after phase with a wet ball,” said John.
When Conor Murray passed the ball to Sexton, as fast as one of John’s greyhounds, the Doon man said: “No, oh Jesus no.”
“If there was a bookie beside me the odds would have been 1/5 Sexton missed it and 4/1 he got it. I would have had a monkey [€500] he would miss.
“I said to myself, ‘What are you doing? It’s a wet ball and it’s raining. It’s too far out. After all the great work ye’re after throwing it away now’,” said John.
Like the rest of the country, John watched as the ball left his boot and spiralled towards the posts. In slow motion it dropped over the black spot. C’est fini. Ireland clutched victory from the jaws of defeat deep into injury time.
Sexton jumped into the air and his teammates jumped on top of him. They weren’t the only ones.
“I’m 76 but I was leaping around the place. I couldn’t believe it, I still can’t believe it. I’ve been watching rugby all my life and never have I seen anything remotely like that. I rang a good friend of mine, Jimmy Looby, and I started roaring into the phone. He said I had ‘some heart’ to go through that,” said John.
He put a total of €9,500 on Ireland to beat France at odds of 2/5 and 4/9 to return €4,000 along with his stake back of €9,500. Sexton’s magic boot keeps a bet of €500 on Ireland to win the Grand Slam at 7/2 going. Another bet of €2,000 on Ireland to win the Six Nations would have been in trouble if they had lost.
“I’m over the moon. If Johnny Sexton ever came to Doon I wouldn’t just buy him a pint. I wouldn’t let him out of Doon for at least a week!”