Tuesday 26 September 2017

Niall O'Brien's exclusive column: We had a few beers and a sing-song, Nelson turned green

Ireland's not out batsmen John Mooney, left, and Niall O'Brien, right, embrace as they walk off after defeating West Indies during their Cricket World Cup pool B match at Nelson
Ireland's not out batsmen John Mooney, left, and Niall O'Brien, right, embrace as they walk off after defeating West Indies during their Cricket World Cup pool B match at Nelson
Ireland's Niall O'Brien plays a shot against the West Indies in their Cricket World Cup match in Nelson
Ireland's Niall O'Brien plays a shot against the West Indies in their Cricket World Cup match in Nelson
Ireland's Niall O'Brien, right, shakes hands with West Indies' Darren Sammy at the end of their Cricket World Cup pool B match at Nelson
Ireland's Ed Joyce, left, and Niall O'Brien meet mid-pitch during their Cricket World Cup pool B match against West Indies at Nelson
West Indies' Jerome Taylor, right, flies as he delivers a ball watched by Ireland's Niall O'Brien during their Cricket World Cup pool B match at Nelson
Ireland's Niall O'Brien (C) is congratulated by West Indies' Darren Sammy (L) after beating them for the first time in their Cricket World Cup match in Nelson
Ireland's John Mooney hugs teammate Niall O'Brien (R) after beating the West Indies for the first time in their Cricket World Cup match in Nelson
Ireland's John Mooney hugs teammate Niall O'Brien (R) after beating the West Indies for the first time in their Cricket World Cup match in Nelson
Ireland's John Mooney (2nd L) hugs teammate Niall O'Brien (3rd L) after beating the West Indies for the first time in their Cricket World Cup match in Nelson
West Indies captain Jason Holder drops a catch off Ireland's Niall O'Brien during their Cricket World Cup match in Nelson
Ireland's Kevin O'Brien and Niall O'Brien (R) celebrate the dismissal of the West Indies' Dwayne Smith (not pictured) during their Cricket World Cup match in Nelson
Ireland's Kevin O'Brien and Niall O'Brien (R) celebrate the dismissal of the West Indies' Dwayne Smith (not pictured) during their Cricket World Cup match in Nelson

Niall O’Brien

People know we have the will and now they know we have the skill.

It’s a fantastic achievement to chase 300 runs in any game and to do it three times at the World Cup is absolutely brilliant for the boys to be involved with.

Character-wise it shows that we have unbelievable belief in our own ability, we’re strong-minded, we’re confident in what we’re going to do and probably most importantly, we’ve got the ability to do it.

It’s all well and good being confident, backing yourself and going out and trying your best but you have the ability and we’ve shown that time and time again which is fantastic for all of us.

We’ve been prepared very well, everyone has worked hard.

Some of the results in the preparation didn’t go according to plan but we were doing the right things and we knew what we were working towards and that goal was the first game yesterday.

Everyone knows what’s required of them and some days it comes off and some days it doesn’t.

Thankfully, we got off to a great start with Paul and William and Ed and I just carried it on. Whatever we tried to do, we committed to 100pc.

We all have our own skills and abilities, some people can hit the ball certain places easier than others and we’re very fortunate to have Matthew Moss who is a coach in New South Wales and an ex-state cricketer in Australia.

He’s been our batting consultant over the winter and he’s helped us come to terms with the  conditions out here. Where best to hit runs for me as an individual and Ed Joyce is different to me and Paul Stirling.

We all know what we’re trying to do and that’s the beauty of the make-up of our team.

We’ve got hitters like Stirling , Kevin O’Brien and John Mooney and players like Ed and I who rely more on placement and a bit more guile. We’ve got most bases covered.

The wickets are great and conditions are great for batting as you’ve seen with all the matches, the scores have been massive.

The West Indies have been on our radar for quite a while.

We had this game etched in the diary for a long time. We wanted to get off to a winning start, that could set up our whole tournament, our whole campaign.

The West Indies have had a poor couple of months both on and off the field and we knew we could take advantage of that.

I think it was pretty evident yesterday, that when we fielded and batted, we were all their for each other and putting our bodies on the line. I think with the West Indies, they have some issues that crept into their performance.

It affected their play on the day.

While we’re very proud, it’s on to Australia now and the next game against the United Arab Emirates.

We play against the UAE a lot and we have had fairly good success against them but there is no such thing as an easy game at the World Cup.

We’ll have to prepare equally as well, tactically and mentally, to get ready for the match.

We have a few days off now to relax on the Gold Coast by the pool and on the beach before we start practice again on Thursday.

Come next week, we’ll be ready to go and hopefully at the end of the UAE game, we’ll have four points in the bag.

The reaction to our victory both here in southern hemisphere and at home has been brilliant.

We were in a few Irish bars in town, Nelson was green in colour.

Whether it was Irish people in New Zealand coming to watch or local Kiwis getting behind the Irish team.

All the bars were packed, everyone was very welcoming , we had a great sing-along and a few beers were had. It was great to interact with the spectators.

Any publicity is good publicity for the sport and hopefully it will continue to grow at home and participation numbers will improve.

We’re lucky to have Tourism Ireland on board as a sponsor and we just need to keep doing the business on the pitch.

John Mooney lost some of his match fee for swearing and it’s something I’ve had to deal with myself in the past. I know where John is coming from. John’s a very emotional lad and committed to the cause and sometimes you say and do things on the spur of the moment that you shouldn’t.

John wants to take his little slap on the wrists but we’re all backing him. We’ll give him a bit of stick and get on with it.

He’s the most passionate guy on the team, he bleeds green for us and the most-loved player on the team.

I know what makes him tick and all he has wanted to do over the last two years was win that game. He got a little frustrated and let out a few expletives but it’s all been done before and it’s nothing major.

We have just gone up one rung on the ladder and our goal remains the same... the last eight.

Quarter-finals was the aim before we bowled a ball, if we get there anything can happen and someone can do something special and win you a game.

We’ve got a few big games over the next few weeks and all being well we should be in the hunt for the last eight.

We want to play against the best and see where you come up. If you can do well, it’s a real feather in your cap.

Unfortunately we don’t get much cricket against these big teams and it’s something Cricket Ireland are trying to rectify and get us some more fixtures against top quality sides.

Onwards and upwards.

Watch the highlights from the game here: 

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