Thursday 20 July 2017

Johnston, Mooney and O'Brien restore Irish pride

Ed Carty and Louise Hogan

A sports-mad family from Dublin toasted big-hitting batsman Kevin O'Brien after he sensationally took England apart at the Cricket World Cup.

The Dubliner led his unfancied team-mates to one of the greatest upsets in cricket history thanks to his fastest 100 in the competition's history.

He as well as John Mooney and Trent Johnston -- now forever nicknamed Johnston, Mooney and O'Brien after the famous bakers -- went straight into the history books.

Ireland won by three wickets in Bangalore, India, after O'Brien smashed a stunning 113, and chased down 328 to beat an Ashes-winning England side captained by Andrew Strauss.

John Mooney, also from Dublin, said last night: "It's just what dreams are made of."

He added: "To score the winning run, that will live with me for the rest of my life. That was my Ray Houghton moment."

And he warned: "We are not one-hit wonders."

The century man's brother, Ger, said: "I am so proud. I followed it on the web and then I got out to see the climax of the game. When he got to 80 I knew he had a chance and he did nearly all of it in boundaries, which was amazing. He took them apart, even Graeme Swann, who is the number one spin bowler in the world."

Kevin is one of five O'Brien brothers to play cricket, with Niall keeping wicket in the match. Ger, president of the Railway Union Cricket Club, was not surprised to see him take England's attack apart.

Dedicated

"Something gets into us when we play the English," he said. "I was watching and suddenly Kevin got going and turned the match upside down. Niall and Kevin are dedicated. They were bred for it.

"It is such a great day for Irish cricket. Some bookmakers had Ireland at 400-1 at one stage. I wish I'd not kept my money in pocket. Hopefully this will give a great boost to cricket in Ireland."

Kenny Carroll, a Railway Union all-rounder who played in the last World Cup, joked that O'Brien was a team-mate "up 'til today".

"He'll probably be off playing in the Indian Premier League now," he said. "He is a big hitter of the ball. He's always been well able to hit sixes and he just came good on the day.

"It has to be one of the best things ever on that stage. And you could nearly say he single-handedly beat England."

From the midst of the celebrations in Bangalore, Niall O'Brien told the Irish Independent: "What a day, to beat England and to beat them at the game they invented, it was second to none."

Cameras panned to famous former Ireland captain Brendan 'Ginger' O'Brien and his wife Camilla -- the anxious parents of Kevin and Niall -- in the stands at the Chinnaswamy Stadium as heavyhitter Kevin began to put the English side under pressure.

"There's two proud people in the stands and probably four million proud people at home," said man-of-the-match Kevin -- whose hair was bright pink thanks to several of the team supporting the Irish Cancer Society event 'Shave or Dye'.

Irish Independent

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport