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Ireland celebrations on hold

"Something special might happen," loose forward says

Last Updated: 08/11/08 11:31am

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Finnigan: Starting to get a little feeling

Finnigan: Starting to get a little feeling

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Ireland's Simon Finnigan has said any celebrations the team might have been planning after their hugely impressive World Cup win against Samoa will have to wait.

Following their 34-16 triumph on Wednesday, Andy Kelly's squad have left their Sydney base and are heading to the Gold Coast for their next match against Fiji.

The Irish now top Pool C and, assuming they maintain their giant-killing form, they can look forward to the prospect of a dream World Cup semi-final against Australia.

But, according to loose forward Finnigan, as expectations increase, so the desire to celebrate their sensational win has been diluted.

Of the prospect of a last four meeting with the world champions, Finnigan said: "That's too far away. That's a semi-final and we've got a quarter-final on Monday first and that's good enough for us at the moment.

"I think the boys are starting to get a little feeling that something special might happen.

"No one expected us to get this far but we're growing in confidence with each game so the celebrations were low key."

Convincing

Ireland were expected to be brushed aside by the star-studded Samoans, who boast six NRL players among their number and who also scored an impressive 20-12 win over Tonga in their opening fixture.

However, for the second successive match, their smaller pack dominated and they then pulled away in the second half to register a convincing win, with winger Pat Richards scoring a hat-trick of tries.

The Fijiians had been responsible for the previous biggest shock of the tournament, a 42-6 win over France.

And although they subsequently lost to Scotland, Finnigan knows Fiji will represent Ireland's stiffest challenge yet.

"Fiji have looked pretty good so far as well," he continued. "They've been a bit of a surprise package themselves.

"It's another big set of lads we've got to face. That looks as though it's going to be the story of our World Cup, playing against a team bigger than us in every game."

Impressive

Pack members Gareth Haggerty, Eamon O'Carroll and Ryan Tandy were particularly impressive as they stood up to the physical Samoans.

"We knew we could beat Samoa but I think we were a bit surprised with our performance," Finnigan added. "I think our defence was outstanding.

"The whole first half they were pretty much in our half but we held them out and somehow we were in front at half-time.

"So we knew at half-time that, if we did a few things better, we'd get stronger than them and that's how it panned out.

"We've a pretty good team, a quick team. They were a big team and were always going to dominate certain areas but we knew we'd have our say.

"We've got some good finishers in our team and we knew we'd score points."

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