Never mind the result – just soak up the cricket fun and sun
FOR seasoned Ireland cricket fans, proceedings are usually watched under the cover of an umbrella and through gritted teeth as they seek to avoid annihilation.
However, in the current, golden age of Irish cricket – where we have reached our third successive World Cup – all that has changed.
So it was apt that even the weather co-operated with a one-day international between Ireland and England in north Dublin, played under cloudless blue skies and a baking sun.
Some 10,000 supporters cheered on the home team in what was a nail-biting fixture and where the hosts had appeared to have the game all sewn up.
It was just a pity that Dublin-born England captain Eoin Morgan didn't get the memo as he led the visitors to a six-wicket victory.
Malahide Cricket Club was transformed into a mini Lords as temporary stands were erected to accommodate the biggest audience it has ever seen.
And, befitting the laid-back nature of a day's cricket, spectators enjoyed a leisurely tipple in the sun.
And some of the Ireland players manning the outskirts of the playing field happily signed bats, balls and shirts for young fans during one of the many pauses in proceedings.
Three generations of the one cricket-mad family – little Michael Ward (7) from Ranelagh in Dublin, his father Peter and his grandfather Stephen Barcroft, from Tipperary – were enjoying the game from their lofty perch in the sun-drenched stands.
"It's a marvellous pitch here and a marvellous occasion," said Mr Barcroft.
"So much cricket in Ireland is watched sheltering under an umbrella so this makes a nice change. And now we have such a good team – before you just tried to avoid embarrassment," he laughed.
However, it was a case of divided loyalties for Jemma Rankin, the sister of Boyd Rankin, a one-time Ireland team member who now plays for England.
"He's done really well, he's just got four wickets and I'm very proud to be his sister", she said at the lunch break.
She and the rest of the Rankin clan were up at 5am to board a bus from their home town of Magheramason in Co Tyrone to travel down to Dublin.
"I'm an Irish supporter because I used to play for the Irish ladies' team but today I'm supporting my brother . . .
But that's at the minute, at the end I'll probably decide who's winning and support them", she joked.