ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

England v Ireland, Group B, World Cup 2011, Bangalore

Bangalore turns green after night of Ireland's lives

Sriram Veera samples the atmosphere in the team hotel after Ireland's victory

Sriram Veera in Bangalore

March 2, 2011

Comments: 12 | Text size: A | A

Kevin O'Brien's girlfriend Ruth Ann Kilty, Vanessa Johnston and Gary Wilson's wife at the team hotel, England v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Bangalore, March 2, 2011
Ireland's jubilant wives and girlfriends join the celebrations in Bangalore © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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A short while after he hit the fastest ton in World Cup history, Kevin O'Brien texted his girlfriend Ruth Anne Kilty: "Where are you?" She was on her way to the team hotel. He was in the dressing room. It was their biggest night. As they say in Ireland, it was the night to get scuttered, to get stocious, to get drunk in delirious joy. In the hotel, Ruth couldn't wait to see her boyfriend. "I am an emotional wreck," she says with a big smile. "Kevin too is in a bit of shock."

It's her first overseas tour with Kevin. She has seen him play in Ireland but never outside. "He is a very laidback person off the field. He doesn't get stressed. He gets nervous before a game but not stressed. As he says, "Why do you need to get stressed when you are well prepared?"

Around her in the hotel lobby, there are Irish fans, in a state of delirium. Some don't even know the names of most players. Cricket is not a big sport back in Ireland. They are world travellers who landed up at the stadium because it was a game against England. Any sport against England was not to be missed. Any win against the old enemy was to be savoured.

"Kevin for Prime minister," they shout. "This is massive. We are good at sports like Rugby - The rugby grand slam and the European Cup victories are our biggest sporting achievement - but this win is sweeter because it has come in a sport where we are not traditionally strong. We are glad we travelled here to catch this great moment."

So is the charming Vanessa, Trent Johnston's wife puts the victory in perspective. "The win against Pakistan in the last World Cup was good but at the end of the day Pakistan played badly and we capitalised, whereas today to chase that score was just phenomenal. It was a world-class performance at a time when they are thinking of reducing the teams to 10 and keep out the Associates. For Trent, tonight was special as he became the first Irish bowler to get fifty wickets. He is 36, coming to end of his career, and he is Australian-born; so to beat the Poms means a bit more for him."

Vanessa is waiting for her husband to return so that they can speak to their 10-year old daughter Claudia and the seven-year old son Charlie. Vanessa says she has played a bit of cricket and adds, "I taught Trent everything that he knows in cricket! I want that on record, Cricinfo!" She and Ruth throw their heads back as they laugh. An IPL contract might not be far off for Kevin and the world might be at his feet now but he has to wait for one thing. "Surely now, after this great night, either Kevin or you will propose?!" Ruth turns coy, takes a step or two back, shakes her head, laughs and says, "No, no. Absolutely not."

Meanwhile, a Bollywood number "de dana dan" is belting out from the hotel speakers. Vanessa does a little jig as she spots a friend. Around 50 fans stream into the lobby. The England bus rolls in exactly at midnight. Andrew Strauss whispers something into the ears of Mushtaq Ahmed and smiles. Paul Collingwood, Graeme Swann, and Matt Prior are even sporting enough to sign a few autographs before they too troop past the fans and disappear into the elevator.

Twenty minutes later the Irish bus glides in, triggering huge cheers and cat whistles. The player's faces are priceless. Pride and exhilaration collide in glee. The eyes search for the loved ones, who are standing just beyond a glassed panel, in the inner part of the hotel. Phil Simmons, the coach, Porterfield and of course Kevin are first showered by arc lights and are roped to do interviews. Kevin is the last one to get in; a private moment of celebration ensues.

Soon, a small party starts behind closed doors at a banquet hall. Now and then, the door opens and you could hear songs and lot of laughter. Soon, the players, their wives and the fans, who have been invited, dance.

Foot-stomping. Beer Guzzling. Laughter. The Cinderellas of World Cricket might have been expected to return to sackcloth after midnight, but the party has only just begun.

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 12 
Posted by   on (March 4, 2011, 14:38 GMT)

If ireland beats india then may be there will be a chance that ireland will not be called as associate Team

Posted by cricket2011 on (March 4, 2011, 4:23 GMT)

a big relief for Irish fans

Posted by Jim1207 on (March 4, 2011, 3:48 GMT)

When would ICC give test match status to Ireland? Would it be after they build a rocket, go to space, find aliens, and beat them in Cricket? What is ICC waiting for? When a bunch of people have a talent and prove to professionals for a long time of period with consistent performances with the very little chances they get, in addition to making a living for themselves with other works, why would ICC wait any more? What are the actual criteria that still do not allow Ireland to play international test match cricket? They might be bad and could find difficult to beat top teams, but at least they would play. If they are not allowed to play, what would they dream anymore! giving test match status would definitely bring more Tamims and Shakibs from Ireland or people who have Irish origin, in addition to keeping players like Eoin Morgan to play for his home country.

Posted by Abaa on (March 3, 2011, 22:59 GMT)

@ Geethike

Spot on about that! Bangladesh supposedly deserved test status after one measly win. Ireland at the moment have shown tremendous promise and are definitely showing signs of consistence. Imagine if Eoin Morgan had been in this team. Ireland right now deserve test status more than Bangladesh ever did! They can give any team a run for their money in ODI's right now. Please don't let Ireland become the next Kenya (who were semi finalists in 2003 and are now possibly the worst associate).

Posted by   on (March 3, 2011, 21:13 GMT)

I think Ireland deserves test status way more than Bangladesh ever did, and they deserve to play more ODI matches than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe combined.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2011, 19:52 GMT)

Well written article. I felt like getting involved in the party while reading this article and ofcourse Big win and boost for irish cricket.

But Now they r gonna face INDIA who have already got a shocker with that tie. Its bad luck of ireland that INDIA got a wake up call before their clash. So, it will be diff. for irish to beat INDIA.

Posted by Danksl on (March 3, 2011, 18:48 GMT)

They deserve to be a full member now. They have shown it more than once.

Posted by stevedd on (March 3, 2011, 18:13 GMT)

Mabrook IRELAND Y you really deserved to win , you guys brought smiles to many faces !!! we want you to beat almost all the sides and go ro finals!!! go ahead and beat the other teams in the group!!!

Posted by mayankonthemove on (March 3, 2011, 12:46 GMT)

I think now Mr. ICC President is ready to eat up his words :)

Posted by   on (March 3, 2011, 8:05 GMT)

well played ireland.....it was awesum 2 see that u guys won.....

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