“Nobody ever takes a drop goal from 45 yards out”.
Shane Byrne was as shocked as anybody at Johnny Sexton's "bravery", in attempting his last gasp winning drop goal against France in Paris yesterday.
Sexton's score- with the last kick of the game- gave Ireland a 15-13 win.
Former Leinster, Lions and Ireland hooker Byrne joined us this morning on Now That's What I Call Sport:
You can listen to the interview in full here:
In a scrappy game, Ireland kept some of their best rugby for the closing stages, playing through 41 phases, before Sexton's winning kick.
“41 phases of rugby it took to do that, so that’s flawless rugby for that amount of time. What an end to a game.”
“It was a great team effort and great control (towards the end) by Conor Murray.”
Byrne praised Sexton’s bravery, and says the kick came after countless hours of training behind closed doors for both Leinster and Ireland, which allowed him to cope with the huge pressure kick.
“Johnny Sexton had played out that exact scenario in his head and hit that drop goal in training hundreds of times.”
“Sexton has so much talent and ability but yet it’s his work ethic which is an example to all young players out there.”
A Sexton penalty miss midway through the second half looked set to prove crucial for Ireland, until he made amends deep into added time.
And Byrne believes Sexton's decision to take on the kick proved his mental toughness.
“It's the measure of a man, it was one of those kicks that everyone would have screamed at the telly NO!”
“The bravery of the guy, the cojones to execute those moves just shows the quality of the player.”
“A lot of players would shrink away after missing a kick to put them clear. How he responded to it was superb.”
“These world superstars that we see, it’s not just that they have amazing talent. It’s their work rate and work ethic.”
“It was a defining moment this year and a defining moment in Johnny Sexton’s career”.
Although it was a memorable night for Irish rugby, for the majority of the game it was hard fought for the boys in green but when asked whether it was more important before the game for a good performance or the right result the former Leinster man had this to say.
“No matter how you played or who you played the record books will show a win.”
“Ireland have only won a handful of times since the 1940s (in Paris), it was a huge achievement.”
“The Six Nations is all about momentum, getting ugly wins. We’ll take that.”
Also on this morning’s show we had Dublin hurler Danny Sutcliffe on his return to Pat Gilroy’s panel. Dublin camogie star Eimear McCarthy and footballer Leah Caffrey and bestselling author Mike Calvin on his book “No Hunger In Paradise” on how Premier league Clubs are scouting talent as young as three years old! You can listen to the show in full below.
Now That’s What I Call Sport is live every Sunday morning from 9am.