Big Dev helps to make history as focus turns to US

Story by Jimmy Geoghegan

Sunday, 18th November, 2018 9:35am

Big Dev helps to make history as focus turns to US

Devin Toner

Today Devin Toner can savour the reality that he helped Ireland achieve a piece of rugby history last night when the Men in Green defeated New Zealand 16-9 for the first time ever on Irish soil. Next up for Ireland is a game against the USA also at the Aviva on Saturday, 6.30. 

Last night Joe Schmidt's side put in a rousing, relentless performance before a packed Aviva Stadium to win a game that was full of crunching hits and big tackles. 

Toner had one of his best games in his international career time and again securing ball from the line-out throws and helping the home side build a platform for their success. At one stage the Meathman took a hit and looked like he might have to leave the field but he recovered to play a big part in the historic victory.  

Jacob Stockdale scored the only try of the game in the second-half with an audacious kick ahead with Johnny Sexton converting. Sexton also split the posts three times from penalty kicks to help ensure the Irish won a titantic struggle. 

There were heroes all over the pitch in green with Toner time and again sparking huge cheers among the crowd with big tackles. In the second-half  Toner was substituted and the big Moynalvey man left the pitch to a standing ovation. 

As well as Toner other members of Ireland's experienced troupe of players also put in huge shifts such a Peter O'Mahony, Rob Kearney and Rory Best. 

Now the US awaits although Schmidt is likely to use that game as an opportunity for players on the fringes of the squad to get a taste of life on the big stage. 

Ireland's rousing display against the All-Blacks was in stark contrast to the insipid performance the Irish soccer team gave against Northern Ireland at the same venue on Thursday night.