Kearney rues Ireland's 'not that great' season

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The Independent Online

Full-back Rob Kearney was left to reflect on a disappointing season for Ireland after they were hammered by New Zealand for the second time in their three-match series.

The positives of the narrow 22-19 defeat in the second Test were buried by heavy defeats either side of that, 42-10 at Eden Park and Saturday's 60-0 crushing in Hamilton.

Ireland also finished third in the Six Nations earlier in the year, their only wins coming against Italy and Scotland, and Kearney (above) admitted: "It probably hasn't been that great a season for us. A couple of games could have gone our way; I look at Wales at home [a 23-21 defeat for the Irish] and France away [17-17], and last week as well. All three of them went against us, but that's sport."

Kearney's performance in Christchurch had been endeavour and fight personified but he was outclassed in Hamilton by his opposite number, Israel Dagg, as the Irish suffered their heaviest defeat by the All Blacks, who ran in nine tries.

"We probably lacked 5 per cent of the intensity of last week and New Zealand upped it by 5 per cent as well. That 10 per cent difference in this game, where margins are so small, will count for a lot and will have a big reflection on the scoreboard, as it did," Kearney said.