Cormac Foley reflects on ‘special’ Grand Slam title triumph

Cormac Foley touches down against the England U20s ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Cormac Foley has described winning the 2019 Under-20 Six Nations and Grand Slam with Ireland as “surreal”.

Noel McNamara’s side sealed the under-20s’ first Six Nations clean-sweep title in 12 years with a 26-17 win over Wales in Cardiff on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Reflecting on the achievement, Foley (19) told WicklowNews that it was a special moment seeing Colm Reilly break free to score a crucial late try against the Welsh.

“[The Grand Slam] probably has set in at this stage. It was surreal at the time,” he said.

“It was a nice little break and [Reilly] finished it off well. We were watching it happen. and we were jumping up-and-down on the bench, as simple as that.

“It was tough going over to Wales, and it was always going to be a tight game with the way the Welsh play. It was probably always going to be a tough game and it wasn’t our best performance, but on the day it is the result that matters.”

Despite having sealed the Six Nations Championship by virtue of a win over France the week before, and the history that beckoned against Wales, Foley insisted that the only pressure that the players were under came internally.

“There was pressure among the group. We are a motivated group. We had set a target that [the Grand Slam] is what we wanted, and I think there was pressure coming from the inside, more than the outside.”

The St. Mary’s scrum-half left an indelible mark on the championship campaign when he scored a late try against England on the opening weekend to ensure a 35-27 win in Irish Indepent Park, in Cork.

Looking back on that night, Foley said that it was an incredible occasion to be a part of.

“It was an unbelievable feeling but it took a while to set in with a lot happening at the time. Those two nights in Cork [vs England, vs France] were special. The atmosphere was incredible and it was a huge synergy boost for us.”

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