Ireland Ends The 111-Year Drought Against The All Blacks
That’s right! The most important drought in Chicago sports has officially ended when Ireland upset New Zealand at Soldier Field this Saturday. The final score was 40-29 but don’t let it fool you. This was hands down the most exciting match I have ever seen, on YouTube or in person. The Boys in Green dominated in the first half, keeping the ball in the All Blacks half of the field for what felt like the entire half. Superb defense by Ireland, namely them taking away the fast-paced offloads with crisp tackling, was the theme of the day (An offload is like when a QB pitches the ball off before he’s tackled). The atmosphere of the stadium was unlike anything I have ever been a part of. The whole crowd was on the edge of their seat for 80 minutes; roaring during scrums yet dead silent (ish) on conversion kicks. Right after halftime, New Zealand reminded everyone why they’re the best in the game. They stunned the Irish with really disciplined running and constant pressure on offense to keep them on their heels. A few scores later and the air left the stadium as Ireland was very much the home team. In spite of that, Ireland still attacked on their kick offs and recovered a few balls that should have easily been won by New Zealand. Ireland showed major improvement in their flow and pace of play, all while never losing their edge in the set pieces in which they are so ferocious. The big green scrums were as strong as the Dew of Tullamore and gave the backs something to work with and then some. Ireland managed to hang on and beat New Zealand for the first time in 111 years in front of the largest crowd for a rugby match on US soil. 63,000 people came to watch Ireland end a drought that began before the modern Republic of Ireland even existed. As a Cubs fan and rugby connoisseur, it was really remarkable to witness such historic events so close to one another. Great time to be a Chicagoan. Check out some of the native content below and make sure to check back here at LMBF for more sports action!