Pat Lam candidly talks bonfires, the Irish language, kicking errors and how Connacht really did it

Province's head coach chats to Off The Ball

Connacht, Pat Lam

Connacht’s head coach Pat Lam celebrates ©INPHO/James Crombie

"Dia Dhuit! Conas atá tú?"

Those were Pat Lam's opening words on Off The Ball tonight but if they were turned onto himself, how is he?

Delighted would be one adjective after guiding Connacht to a fairytale and first ever Guinness Pro 12 triumph by swatting away the challenge of Leinster in Saturday's final.

"We travelled all the way down [from Knock airport] in the early hours of the morning back to Co. Galway and there were unbelievable bonfires. The Irish boys gave me an idea why they do bonfires and that was unbelievable and then as a team, a nice little pub was open for us," he said of the hectic last few days.

"I've never had so many watery eyes. Even when you played the soundbites, my eyes started to water again."

The watery eyes and tears were a presence pre-match after he and the players witnessed the sight of the fans outside Murrayfield and he revealed that they needed to channel that emotion into the performances as they ended up doing so fluidly.

 

 

Despite winning in style, Lam picked out errors which just goes to show the attitude and mental approach which has driven Connacht to new heights. 

"On what we could do better, we let [Leinster] back in the game because we started to kick the ball," he said, stating that he had set a goal that Connacht become "the best counter-attacking team".

 

Pat Lam and John Muldoon ©INPHO/James Crombie

And having opened the interview with a cupla focal, he explained how the Irish language has become important to the team.

"It's another way to connect to each other, connect to who we represent and what I started finding was that even the Irish boys as they started to say 'Dia Dhuit', they started to talk a bit more Irish and it starts a lot of pride about where we're from and those connections are massive," he said.

He also revealed that both he and the players did powerpoint presentations to the rest of the team about what really matters to them outside of rugby.

"I didn't know anyone when I came here so I did a powerpoint presentation about things - not even about rugby - that were important to me - obviously my family, where I'm from and then I challenged all the boys to do a powerpoint presentation on what's important to them for all the team-mates, and the boys got up over the period of the pre-season and they all had 10 minutes to present and what I saw there, I said 'wow'. They started talking about their family, their heritage, their clan ... a lot of them got emotional about their grandparents and I was just blown away by that."