After the Irish rugby team's disappointment in Japan, Ewan MacKenna shared his thoughts on the Rugby World Cup with OTB AM.
Ewan MacKenna: "That was my point a year ago, that we weren't doing things differently: the Late, Late, DVDs, celebrating friendlies... "
Ger Gilroy: "Should you not celebrate life as you go?"
Ewan MacKenna: "No."
Ger Gilroy: "Why not?"
Ewan MacKenna: "Real winners do not need hyperbole."
Ger Gilroy: "There literally is a celebration at the end of every year where they do hand out a Team of the Year award and Ireland were that team. There was a gala dinner, you can't not show up!
Ewan MacKenna hasn't been shy in sharing his reservations regarding the Irish rugby team's brief liaison with greatness in 2018.
The penultimate year of Joe Schmidt's tenure, Ireland's ability to beat all-comers demonstrated a comforting proficiency for the task ahead in 2019 - or so it seemed.
Ultimately, the pyrrhic nature of Ireland's great year was brutally exposed as a quarter-final defeat to New Zealand ended whatever hope Schmidt and his players had of breaking into the hitherto unchartered ground of a World Cup semi-final.
"This whole de facto world champions, the team of 2018 ... we were a laughing stock at the World Cup," surmised MacKenna on Thursday's OTB AM. "We're the English soccer team."
The explication of MacKenna's many tweets on the matter, he admitted in conversation with Off the Ball that he was gladdened by the negative reaction to the team's exploits.
"[The team] got a kicking, finally," he stated in contrast to the Irish media's alleged fawning of the country's rugby stars. "Although, Joe Schmidt turns up then on the Late, Late and gets a standing ovation?! Incredible!"
Furthermore, MacKenna shared his concerns with the primary source of Irish rugby's players.
"They need to overhaul the system," he asserted. "I think they need to branch out from this being driven by private schools.
"I think the GAA is in trouble, soccer's name is mud at the moment and there is a huge opening.
"I think rugby must be missing out on an awful lot of potentially very good players by not giving them the pathway.
"I know there are exceptions, everyone will say, Tadhg Furlong, Sean O'Brien and all these things, but ... after all the marketing, all the hype and hysteria for the last 15 years around rugby in this country, that that hasn't changed radically is a huge missed opportunity.
"I just don't understand why they stick with this."
You can watch MacKenna's full exploration of Irish rugby's woe here.