Thursday 21 September 2017

'We want to play the best and see where we stand'

Niall O’Brien with John Mooney
Niall O’Brien with John Mooney

Niall O'Brien

People knew we had the will and now they know we have the skill. It's a fantastic achievement to chase 300 runs in any game but to do it for the third time at a World Cup is absolutely brilliant for the boys.

Character-wise our victory against the West Indies shows we have great belief in our own ability, we're strong-minded, we're confident in what we're going to do and 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 to have the ability - and we've shown that time and time again.

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 in Nelson on Monday.

Thankfully, we got off to a great start with Paul Stirling and William Porterfield and Ed Joyce and I just carried it on.

Easier

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 a former state cricketer in Australia.

He's been our batting consultant over the winter and he has helped us come to terms with the conditions out here.

We've got hitters like Stirling, my brother Kevin and John Mooney, and players like Ed and me who rely more on placement and a bit more guile. We've got most bases covered.

The wickets and conditions are great for batting and 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 wanted to get off to a winning start to set up our whole tournament, our whole campaign.

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

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

While we're very proud of our performance, we have moved on from New Zealand to Australia now and the next game against the UAE.

We play against them 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 had a few days off now to relax on the Gold Coast by the pool and on the beach before we start practice again tomorrow.

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.

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, 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, making the last eight.

A quarter-final was the aim before we bowled a ball and if we get there anything can happen.

We want to play against the best and see where we stand.

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.

Irish Independent

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