Over the past 18 months, Ireland have established themselves as one of the emerging forces in world rugby and they underlined that status with an historic series win in New Zealand on Saturday.
Having lost the opening Test in Auckland, Andy Farrell’s men responded by winning in Dunedin, their first-ever win over the All Blacks on New Zealand soil, before clinching the series in spectacular fashion, 32-22 in Wellington.
That win takes them to the top of the world rankings, replacing France who pipped them to the Guinness Six Nations crown earlier this year.
Understandably, the performance had a lot of people talking, with Ireland 22-3 half-time lead the biggest deficit New Zealand had ever faced after 40 minutes, while Ireland became the first team since France in 1994 to win a series in New Zealand.
Whether it was Ireland internationals, British & Irish Lions or onlookers from further afield, the result made everyone stand up and pay attention.
And it was Farrell, who has now overseen three wins in four clashes with the All Blacks since succeeding Joe Schmidt as Ireland’s head coach, who received plenty of plaudits:
There were so many standout performances within the matchday 23, but in the final ten minutes when the game went down to the wire, one player stood out.
Tadhg Beirne came up with three crucial turnovers as New Zealand searched for a way back into the game, effectively denying the All Blacks any hope of a comeback:
His colleague in the pack, Peter O’Mahony, rolled back the years to produce a series for the ages, and the emotion of what had been achieved clearly hit home after the final whistle:
Overall though, it was Ireland’s remarkable achievement as a whole which stood out, earning praise from all parts, as well as some brilliant celebrations on the pitch after the final whistle: