23 May, 12:21
The Irish Rugby Supporters Club is delighted to announce that tickets for the GUINNESS Series 2013 will go on sale on ticketmaster.ie at 10am on Thursday, May 30.
With the dust barely settled on the Triple Crown triumph, fitness coach Mike McGurn reckons Ireland will have to "work like never before" to stand a chance of beating New Zealand in June.
The Fermanagh man has been an integral part of the Irish set-up since 2002 and can often be seen using his athletic prowess as a former national cross-country and 5,000m champion to get messages from coach Eddie O'Sullivan in the stand down to the players on the pitch.
Looking ahead to Ireland's summer tour Down Under, which includes two Test against New Zealand (June 10 (Hamilton), 17 (Auckland)) and one against Australia (June 24 (Perth)), McGurn said: "It would be great to go down there and get a victory on New Zealand soil, but to achieve that we're going to have to work like never before in the next eight to nine weeks."
Reflecting on the RBS 6 Nations Championship, he added: "The players we have are an exceptional bunch and they have really applied themselves and that's reflected in what they have achieved in recent seasons. Certainly it was encouraging to finish so strongly against England, especially with so much at stake.
"We also finished like a train against France and if the game had gone on for another five minutes, I'm convinced we would have won, but it wasn't to be. That's why we didn't deserve to win the Championship," he explained to the Sunday Life.
McGurn was still relaying messages from the management right up until Shane Horgan's dramatic 78th-minute try in the 28-24 defeat of England. He said of Ireland's furious finish at Twickenham: "The great thing was that nobody panicked. I told them we were only three points adrift and we'd got Simon Easterby back from the sin bin. ROG (Ronan O'Gara) went for a chip, Brian (O'Driscoll) got to it and put Shaggy (Shane Horgan) out wide and he did the rest."
Rest - something not a lot of Irish players saw on the Sunday after the English game. A 7.30am wake-up call for a pool recovery session - all part of the conditioning regime of a professional sportsman - was grin-and-bear it time!