Yes Ireland’s World Cup may be over after their 48-10 defeat to New Zealand on Friday night, but it was still a special moment for former Huddersfield Giants star Ronan Michael.
It was his World Cup debut and after the game he spoke about how “special” it was to play in the game.
He also thanked the crowd for their amazing atmosphere: “It was surreal, every time we had a chance or a break away, the crowd erupted and you just had this sense, that feeling, that the crowd was backing us. It was incredible really, they gave us that extra spur when we needed it most.”
The former Giant noted that it has been the greatest time of his life: “It’s been the best three or four weeks of my life, I’ve been dying for it. To make my World Cup debut in that green jersey, I’ve been waiting for it since we qualified.”
Of course, the game against New Zealand must have been difficult for the team to manage after their hopes of the last eight were all but ended in a surprisingly comprehensive defeat to Lebanon.
However, he praised the attitude of the squad after that defeat and going into the game against the Kiwis: “I just think it was a never say die attitude. We didn’t lose our heads because of last week, we said listen we have one more game to play. Our backs were against the world but we came out swinging. We’re the fighting Irish.
“It’s 13 blokes with two arms and two legs against 13 blokes with two arms and two legs.”
A proud Irishman, Michael dismissed any notion that someone who was only in the squad through heritage wasn’t really Irish: “We’re all Irish together. Anyone willing to take time away from their off-season is Irish to me. All the lads have bought in and they’ve all gone away in their own time to learn their heritage.”