Victory over Wales will provide Ireland with a hat-trick of wins in the ‘home’ international ties at GAA Headquarters following last year’s win over England and Scotland last Saturday.
While the Scots had a strong pack that promised much in the first half, they found themselves overwhelmed after the interval.
Waterford rugby fans were left to reflect on the double try scoring performance of Tommy Bowe, son of Waterford man Paul Bowe of the famous farming and meat victualling family.
The 24-year-old’s hunger for the ball and turn of speed must be a family trait. He is having a great season for Ulster and that he won another cap last Saturday was long overdue, most agreed.
Two years ago since he last featured regularly, his two tries provided him with his best return in a test match to date and he could well make the right wing slot his own.
Having had a great season for Ulster, the astute Ospreys have secured his services for next season.
Man of the match Geordan Murphy also has a Waterford connection, having spent time with WIT and Waterpark as a 19-year-old. Full-back, as was once again proven last Saturday, is the natural and best one for him.
The Leicester player excelled in the air, catching several high balls turning one of them into a try opportunity finished by the impressive Rob Kearney.
In his immediate post-match comments, Eddie O’Sullivan still stated he preferred Girvan Dempsey to Geordan Murphy to start against Wales, which was hard to credit after such a great performance from Murphy.
There was much for the home support to cheer about, due in no small part to a brilliant Ronan O’Gara kick which concluded in a try for Marcus Horan, popping up in a Bowe-like position on the wing.
And while the Scottish support’s many renditions of ‘Flower of Scotland’ were noble attempts to raise their heroes’ hopes early on, their cries fell silent as the game wore on; a sole bagpiper sounding what amounted to a lament in the dying minutes.
Ireland may have looked spectacular at times but the Scots were so bad that we will need to up our game against the Welsh. And that means a functioning lineout is essential against a team coached by ex-Ireland boss Warren Gatland.
That improvement could come about if Paul O’Connell or either Rory Best or the no longer suspended Jerry Flannery are named in the starting team.
A win against Wales would ensure a great finale against England in Twickenham on March 15th.
It could well be time to be book your seat given England’s great win over France in Paris and they’re sure to have their tails up.
But there’s a big weekend of rugby to be played between now and then.