The Newstalk Breakfast presenter discusses a positive year in Irish rugby and the upcoming challenges for provincial teams
Ireland last weekend closed out a hugely successful November Series with victory over Australia, adding the scalp of Michael Cheika's side to New Zealand and South Africa in 2016.
After an inauspicious start to the year, with a disappointing defence of their Six Nations crown, Joe Schmidt's side turned things around for the three test tour against the Springboks and Alan Quinlan says the results in the second half of the year has lifted Irish rugby.
"When you look back, if we were given these kinds of results before November we would have been really pleased," he told Newstalk Sport's Oisin Langan on Friday morning's Facebook Live stream.
"To beat New Zealand... anybody who said we were going to beat them was probably telling lies. We were all hopeful of course.
"But go back a couple of months and the South Africa Tests. You had New Zealand, Canada, Australia. They're six incredibly hard Test matches there. People were predicting that we may not win any because of injuries. It wasn't the best Six Nations, we had a good finish against Italy.
"We were at a bit of a crossroads, but this November Series has really lifted the mood in Irish rugby again."
The Newstalk Breakfast presenter also explained the marked difference in the team between compared to years ago against high quality opposition and noted the impact that Schmidt has had on the players since taking over.
"One of the things he's big on is creating a gameplan and creating fundamentals of what an individual is required to do.
"The fundamentals, even when there are changes in the team around selection, he expects that standard to be very high. Discipline of course has been a huge thing for him as well.
"What happened to the group in the second half was that they didn't panic. When Australia went 24-20 up, Ireland were still in a dominant position."