Drive on: Ireland's Jamie Heaslip gets tackled by Adam Jones and Alun-Wyn Jones of Wales

Declan Kidney sat down in front of us and we just couldn't resist it. "Can we talk about the Grand Slam now, Declan?" He forced out a smile but still couldn't really bring himself to do it. The man just doesn't do showbiz, he doesn't to self-congratulation. He does what he does and nobody has ever known him to be any different. He muttered out a few platitudes before stopping himself short and turning to Brian O'Driscoll who was sitting beside him. "You take over there," he said.

When we eventually got something out of him, he was graciousness itself. After everything that happened in the past, after the way he was summarily bumped off back at the end of his first stint in the Irish coaching set-up, after how he was burned off without a backward glance by his predecessor, he still had the class to give Eddie O'Sullivan his due for his part in all of this. For all O'Sullivan's ultimate limitations, nobody can deny that he at least loosened the lid on the ketchup bottle.

Brian O'Driscoll then. He was weary but smiley, serious yet cheerful. He spoke warmly of Ronan O'Gara, of the ice in his veins required to pop the winning drop-goal after all that has been written and all that has been said. And of how yesterday morning, it was O'Gara who sat the backs down and said his piece. It was a break in tradition for him and it had the desired effect. What's seldom is wonderful and all that.

"It's such a fantastic feeling," O'Driscoll said. "It really is. I feel like it's just reward for a lot of hard work through a lot of years. Particularly this year when we've been so honest with one another and put a lot of stuff out on the table. We've had good times and we've had not so good times but this is a great time.

It's just an absolute delight that we've finally achieved the goal that we set out to do. The guts of this team have been together for a number of years and we've always wanted to do it. We've won a few Triple Crowns but this is what we've always wanted to do. We wanted the Slam and it's nice to be able to say you're one of the squad that achieved the Grand Slam."

Someone asked him what his thoughts were right at the end, right when topsy became turvy in as thrilling and endgame as anyone will see all year. "Because it was so tight, you don't get it right away," he said. "But after a few minutes of shock you get to enjoy it. You get to enjoy it with your teammates who you've battled hard with and put your body on the line for. That's the most satisfying thing, knowing that in that dressing room afterwards, you can look each other in the face and be proud of each other."

Paul O'Connell admitted he thought the match had been lost as Jones stepped up. "I thought the kick was going over, I saw it on target and thought we'd lost it. It went from losing the whole thing to winning the whole thing in half a second."

Asked about the size of his side's achievement, O'Connell added: "It's a massive moment. I think I've been playing for Ireland for seven years and we've had so many close calls. It's been too long coming and we wanted this more than anything. We've not played well the last three games but we just got the job done.

"I wouldn't say it was a case of now or never (for this generation of players) but it was going to be one of our best chances and it doesn't happen very often.

As for the last generation. Out-half on the 1948 team Jackie Kyle commented: "What a wonderful day and what a great pleasure to see Ireland have this deserved win. They have toiled hard. They have had their triple crowns in the past and now they will have the pleasure of being members of a Grand Slam team for the rest of their lives."