Former Ireland Shane Byrne celebrating Ireland's 2004 Six Nations win over England
Former Ireland hooker Shane Byrne believes Declan Kidney's side suffered a Lions hangover after a mixed RBS 6 Nations campaign.
The defending champions saw their bid to make it back-to-back Grand Slams derailed by France’s 33-10 victory before a last-minute Dan Parks penalty for Scotland denied them the Triple Crown.
And with the 2011 World Cup on the horizon, Byrne – who won 45 caps for Ireland – maintains the effects of the brutal Lions series defeat to South Africa have taken their toll on key individuals.
He said: “If you look at Ireland’s Six Nations as a whole you would have to say it has been a disappointing campaign in a far from vintage Championship.
“Keith Earls stepped up to the plate, Tomas O’Leary demonstrated what a talented player he is and Brian O’Driscoll is Brian O’Driscoll.
“But other players have been a shadow of the guys they were in 2009 and I think that is an after effect of the Lions tour.
“Certain key areas – the line-out and the scrum – were not functioning as well as they were last season – and that will need to be addressed before the summer tour and ahead of that the World Cup.”