Mooney hat-trick books Ireland's World T20 spot
John Mooney took a hat-trick as Ireland crushed Jersey by seven wickets at Malahide yesterday and, against the odds, topped Group A to qualify automatically for next year's World T20 finals.
After successive defeats by Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong, Ireland needed to beat the Channel Islanders and see four other results go their way over the weekend if they were to avoid the lottery of play-offs - and that's exactly what happened.
A third successive embarrassment for the tournament favourites looked possible as Jersey reached 107-3 at the end of the 16th over. But a calamitous collapse, culminating in Mooney's final over hat-trick, saw them bowled out for 123.
Paul Stirling, whose clever four-over spell of 3-16 had reined in Jersey, then crashed 55 from 38 balls to help his side to victory with 20 deliveries to spare.
To top the group and join Scotland in automatically qualifying for the finals, Ireland still needed PNG to lose to the USA, which they did by 18 runs, and Hong Kong to defeat Namibia, which also occurred.
Ireland can now sit back and watch their opponents scrap for the remaining play-off places before returning to action on Saturday in the semi-finals."