Resurgent England put boot into Ireland’s Grand Slam hopes

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A beautiful spring Saturday in south-west London, wonderful company for the afternoon, the spectacle of two teams brimming with attacking intent, plus some great scores. Not much to complain about really…well, apart from the result.

Over the past decade we Ireland fans have grown used to beating England both in London and at home in Dublin, but the tide has well and truly turned, with three Six Nations defeats in a row. Saturday’s big game was the tightest of any between the sides at Twickenham since the 1980s, but England squeezed home 13-10 after a thrilling second half.

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Two-on-one overlap: Ireland fans Dermot Davitt and Barry Geoghegan look confident before kick-off, but Stuart McGuire’s English team had the last laugh

No matter. Six Nations days are partly about the rugby but far more about the occasion, the atmosphere and the ‘craic’. And there was plenty of that before, during and afterwards in the company of our host, Stuart McGuire of Scorpio Worldwide (who earns our thanks for being more magnanimous in English victory than we Ireland supporters might have been in reverse!)

Stuart hosted a table of 12 business partners, friends and family, including Alpha LSG’s Alex Forbes and Lance Hayward, Tourvest’s Anthony Faull, Harding Retail’s Jo Macey and Dave Whitmey, plus (in the green corner) The Moodie Report’s Dermot Davitt, Barry Geoghegan of Barry Global Innovation and Anne O’Meara and Mark O’Meara of Danu Partners Ireland. They were there along with Moodie International’s Jaclyn Wampler and Stuart’s cousin and god-son James, who was treated to a day out as part of his recent 18th birthday celebrations.

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Drinking in the atmosphere were (l-r): Lance Hayward, Anne O’Meara, Mark O’Meara, Dermot Davitt, Dave Whitmey, Anthony Faull, Jo Macey, Barry Geoghegan, Alex Forbes, host Stuart McGuire, Jaclyn Wampler and James McGuire

Regular readers will be familiar with The Moodie Report’s online competition over the weekend to guess the match result – won by Paramount Farms’ James Kfouri.

At the game itself Scorpio also hosted a sweepstake on the result, won by Alpha LSG’s Lance Hayward, who was closest to the final score with his forecast of a 15-12 England victory. He won a Gents and Ladies Aviator watch, plus Armani Code fragrances courtesy of Scorpio. He wasn’t the only one who knew his rugby: Harding’s Jo Macey was closest to the Ireland score, and Mark O’Meara was closest to the English score, each of them winning a Gents and Ladies Aviator watch.

More importantly the group also raised £120 for Little Hearts Matter charity – which supports children with chronic heart problems – in memory of Edward (Ned) Wheatley who died last year, and whose father Andy is a good friend of Stuart’s.

And so a hugely memorable day passed as quickly as a Danny Care pass from the base of a scrum. After adjourning to the Drop Kick bar at the base of the stadium (from where we saw England’s women follow their men by beating Ireland out on the pitch), the assembled guests spilled out into the night, towards Twickenham, Richmond – and word reaches us, via an all-night house party for one of the Irish guests. Not bad, given the 12 noon start the previous day. His performance, indeed, was not unlike Ireland’s: full of stamina and grit, before crashing in flames at the final whistle.

Roll on 2015 and the return match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, when we’ll be counting down to the daddy of all rugby competitions: the World Cup.

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Jaclyn Wampler does her best to avoid taking sides as England and Ireland prepare for battle on Saturday

 

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