Northern Ireland

Ireland rugby team's Grand Slam victory hailed as 'fantastic achievement'

Ireland were crowned the Grand Slam champions in Dublin on Saturday. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Ireland were crowned the Grand Slam champions in Dublin on Saturday. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA Wire

THE Irish rugby team's Grand Slam victory has been hailed as a "fantastic achievement" as supporters watched the match from venues across the globe including the Taoiseach and SDLP leader who were in the same pub in Washington DC.

A day after St Patrick’s Day celebrations, Leo Varadkar and Colum Eastwood were pictured celebrating the win in an Irish bar.

It came as Ireland made history in Dublin as they secured their fourth Grand Slam victory and were crowned Six Nations champions on home soil for the first time in 75 years.

It was Ulster's Rob Herring who scored the try at the Aviva Stadium that sealed the victory over England.

Other Ulster players Kieran Treadwell and Tom O'Toole were among the side to clinch victory on Saturday following tries also from Dan Sheehan (2) and Robbie Henshaw to seal a memorable win and Ireland's third consecutive win over England.

It also marked Johnny Sexton's last Six Nations match and saw him become the leading points scorer in the competition's history.

The Taoiseach congratulated the team and their staff after watching the match from the Washington DC bar.

The rugby game culminated a three-day St Patrick's Day trip to the US capital during which Mr Varadkar met with US President Joe Biden, Vice-President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

"A fantastic achievement," he said.

"Wishing them all the very best for their World Cup preparations."

Posting a video on Twitter of the rugby celebrations in the Irish bar, Mr Varadkar wrote: "What a way to round off an incredible week to be Irish, winning the Grand Slam at home.

"Bring on the World Cup."

Mr Eastwood also posted photographs on social media of the rugby festivities.

"Watching IrishRugby get the Grand Slam in Washington with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar," he wrote.

"Well done Jonny Sexton, history-maker."

The Ireland team and their supporters will now move their attention to the Rugby World Cup when they will hope to advance past the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.