Four Irish players propelled into Lions debate after England hiding 7 months ago

Four Irish players propelled into Lions debate after England hiding

"There’ll be one or two more headaches for Warren after that game."

After a tough start to this year's Six Nations campaign, Ireland finished with three wins from three and, against England, had their best game for two and a half years.

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Not since the then world champions, New Zealand came to Dublin and were sent packing has an Ireland side been so dialled in, punishing and clinical. England did their best to stay in the fight as long as possible but it was a losing battle.

Following Ireland's 32-18 victory, Ireland head coach Andy Farrell said he "100%" saw plenty of potential Lions in green jerseys, on Saturday. Lions coach Warren Gatland had visited the Irish camp last week for a closer look at the squad, and up to 10 (possibly more) could be in his squad this summer.

On the latest House of Rugby Ireland [LISTEN from 6:00 below], Fergus McFadden, Ian Madigan and host Eimear Considine discussed four Irish players that have massively boosted their Lions hopes.

Keith Earls, Billy Burns, Conor Murray and Andrew Porter celebrate after Ireland's 32-18 win over England. (Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile)

While the likes of CJ Stander, Johnny Sexton, Robbie Henshaw and Tadhg Furlong will all be hoping to make the Lions cut again, a few of our outside shouts - in terms of the current pecking order - enhanced their chances.

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McFadden, Madigan and Considine identified Conor Murray, Tadhg Beirne and Hugo Keenan as Lions hopefuls that Warren Gatland will now be giving even greater attention.

TADHG BEIRNE

"He was a menace," declared Considine of the Munster second row.

"Everyone was talking up Maro Itoje before the game," Madigan added. "Effectively, Tadhg did what you'd expect Itoje to do. Bar the very start of the game, he completely out-played Itoje."

HUGO KEENAN

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"Johnny Sexton put in that brilliant kick," said McFadden as he recalled the move for Jack Conan's try, "which somehow Hugo Keenan won in the air, against Elliot Daly, who is outstanding in the air. It was just a huge play... he's had a huge Six Nations and he could be a bolter to go on that Lions tour, behind Stuart Hogg, at fullback."

CONOR MURRAY

"It was very much the Conor Murray we've come to expect," said Madigan. "It was one of those games where he was on it - everything he did, he executed very well... He's another guy who will have played himself back into Lions contention, after that... He showed his true class and experience."

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KEITH EARLS

"He was running like he was 21," McFadden remarked. "Who's to say he might not travel on the Lions after that, after touring before (in 2009)."

Gatland will still be covering all the league and European action over the coming weeks, and may even have some Rainbow Cup to keep his eye on, but Irish prospects are looking bright than they did back on February 14.

Also covered on the latest episode:

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  • Preview of the PRO14 Final between Leinster and Munster
  • Ireland Women's star Anna Caplice on the #BeKind online campaign
  • CJ Stander's bruising carry that summed up Irish dominance
  • Ian Madigan's birthday surprise

WATCH THAT HOUSE OF RUGBY EPISODE: