Peter O’Mahony described Ireland’s dominant 38-17 victory over France as one of the most memorable wins in his career. However, he also cautioned against getting too ahead of themselves as people start to speculate about the possibility of back-to-back grand slams. “We need to stay level-headed,” the captain of Ireland emphasized. “While it was a solid performance and a great way to kick off this campaign, we still have room for improvement.”
However, even a neutral observer like O’Mahony acknowledged the importance of this triumph. It was Ireland’s largest win against France on their home turf. “I believe it can’t get any better than this,” he stated. “The pressure of the past few days, I would have gladly traded it for a victory on Friday night, in our first game at the Vélodrome in Marseille. I recall as a young person watching Ireland teams and wishing they would hold on. But now, it’s a whole different experience.”
O’Mahony also honored the young players of Ireland, who took advantage of their opportunity on Friday night.
“Players such as Calvin Nash, Jack [Crowley], and Joe [McCarthy] delivered impressive performances as they were given the chance,” stated O’Mahony. “Joe had some standout moments in the game and continuously improved.”
Andy Farrell was pleased with how his Ireland squad handled the challenging environment. He acknowledged that the French team would inevitably test them, and the crowd would support them. However, Ireland was able to remain composed, maintain their intensity throughout the entire 80 minutes, and continue attacking. Despite playing against a shorthanded opponent for a significant amount of time, they did not let up and were aggressive when necessary. Additionally, Farrell praised their exceptional performance in the lineout.
The coach of France, Fabien Galthié, remained philosophical following one of his most devastating losses, attributing the turning point to Paul Willemse’s red card. “We were playing with only 14 players for the majority of the game,” he stated. “However, I reminded the team that it is not the time for reflection. The disappointment is too great for us to have a clear analysis.”
“The team’s attack was lacking, that much is evident. There were missed opportunities, turnovers, and dropped catches, as well as a lack of speed. Our preparation was not up to par. This is a moment for us to come together as a team. However, the tournament is not over yet. We still have four matches remaining.”