March 21, 2011

Journeymen no more

Gerard Siggins
Ireland's mostly homegrown World Cup squad is also their first full-pro side in 150 years. They have plenty of backing for their progress - except from the people who really matter
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"I have one brother on the team, but 13 more wearing green here in India," said Niall O'Brien.

"We'd die for each other," said John Mooney. "These are my blood brothers."

It is no coincidence that these passionate calls to arms came from those two men. The Mooneys and O'Briens are Irish cricketing gentry, families whose names have adorned club and representative teams for decades. They exemplify the new Irish attitude - skill, aggression, and a passionate belief that their team has every right to be at cricket's top table.

They best showed that at this tournament with their ground fielding, which matched that of any other side in the world. Two stunning run-outs by Mooney and William Porterfield starkly illustrated the Irish approach to this competition - and the difference between them and other Associates.

Just before the tournament, the ICC granted an extra paid place in the official touring party to the so-called minnows. One of the other nations brought along an assistant manager, spending valuable resources on yet another time-served "blazer". Ireland hired top baseball coach Will Lintern to help sharpen their fielding and bring imaginative ideas to this crucial area. It paid off spectacularly and ground fielding became the one area Ireland were able to dominate every opponent. The inch-perfect run-outs of Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis were a clear sign of how Ireland maximised their resources.

Alan Lewis, a retired allrounder with 115 caps, and now better known as a rugby referee, watched the win over England in Bangalore. "I've been overwhelmed with the spirit, the togetherness and just how good they are. They're just playing their own way, they're doing their own thing."

It was an approach that started with the appointment of Adrian Birrell in 2004. The former Eastern Province coach was fortunate that Ireland's economic boom had brought many young men from the southern hemisphere to Dublin, and several of them were fine cricketers. Four stayed, married Irish women, and by 2007 were key members of the Ireland team.

The wins over Pakistan and Bangladesh, and tie with Zimbabwe, in the last World Cup gave the game a profile it hadn't achieved since the 1870s, when it was the biggest sport in Ireland. History and politics conspired to reduce the game to a pitiful backwater before the Birrell revolution kicked it forward.

Birrell stepped down in 2007, believing Irish cricket needed a coach with international experience if the team was to continue to make progress, Phil Simmons proved an inspired choice, and his team has responded to him. While Birrell had three professional cricketers in 2007 - Niall O'Brien, Boyd Rankin and Eoin Morgan - Simmons has 13. The decision to encourage youngsters to try their luck in county cricket has paid dividends.

Alongside the hard-bitten experience of Trent Johnston (36), Andre Botha (35) and Ed Joyce (32) came the thrilling youth of Paul Stirling (20) and George Dockrell (18). The homegrown talent is now to the fore - nine of the side that played Netherlands were born in Ireland, compared to two native-born players in the opposition.

The arrival of Morgan meant there were more men born in the 32 counties at the World Cup than those born in England. Against the English, every single Irish player had first-XI experience with a county, state or province. It was also the first time in 150 years that Ireland had fielded a side entirely composed of full-time pros.

The on-field professionalism has been matched off the field. Ex-ICC official Warren Deutrom took the reins in 2007. Sponsors have flocked to the team - even in an economic crisis - and the Irish Sports Council (ISC) has upped funding. But it wasn't always thus.

The last World Cup cost Ireland a fortune. They received a US$15,000 participation fee, while the Full Members they knocked out pocketed $10 million. An official agreed to lend the union part of his civil service pension lumpsum, while the ISC also stepped in.

Olympic marathon silver medalist John Treacy now heads the ISC. "When I first met him he told me 'I haven't got a feel for cricket, Warren, but if you do well the Sports Council will back you'. And they were there for us, digging us out with a cheque for €350,000," said Deutrom

Since 2007 the numbers playing the game in the country have doubled, and Deutrom has plans to double them again by 2015. That is the year the next World Cup will be held, in Australia and New Zealand, but whether Ireland will be there at all is still to be decided. The ICC announced in October that the tournament will be confined to 10 teams, and have yet to consider whether to hold a qualifying tournament. Ireland could be knocked out of the 2015 tournament on a polished boardroom table in Dubai.

The ICC has rightly attracted criticism for such a retrogressive move, in which money - specifically money for the big three boards of India, England and Australia - seems to be the only object. Football has continued to swell its tournaments, while the much-less widespread game of rugby invites 16 to its World Cup. The likes of Spain, Georgia and Canada are always hammered, but the sport recognises the need to grow and be inclusive. Cricket, meanwhile, buries itself in post-Empire exclusivity despite the fact that the likes of Ireland and Kenya have added enormously to the fun of the last three World Cups.

"What other sporting body cuts the numbers of teams in a major tournament while saying it is doing what is good for the sport?"
Warren Deutrom, Cricket Ireland's chief executive, on the ICC's decision to restrict the 2015 World Cup to 10 teams

Even the argument of lack of competitiveness has been blown away by Ireland, who ran West Indies and India close - while Zimbabwe and Bangladesh suffered far more humiliating defeats.

Deutrom hopes the performances of Ireland will mean the Associates at least get a chance to qualify. "You want the best teams there, not simply teams that are there because of their membership entitlements. Associates need to be competitive, and I think Ireland has done that. There is also a commercial element and Indian people in all areas, from broadcasting to sponsorship to fans, all said Ireland were a fabulous draw - and the television ratings for our games with India and England were extremely good.

"We also brought around 500 supporters out there, which is as high as any of the non-hosting countries." Ireland brought 2000 members of the Blarney Army to the 2007 World Cup.

The future on the field remains bright, with only Johnston, Joyce and Botha certain to be gone by 2015. A healthy number of the youngsters left behind have already started careers in England, with Craig Young (Sussex), Graeme McCarter (Gloucestershire), James Shannon (Worcestershire), Stuart Poynter (Middlesex) and Shane Getkate (Warwickshire) among those bidding to join the squad in the near future. Others have opted to study in English universities just to enjoy three or four games against counties each summer.

One richly talented schoolboy, Jordan Coghlan, is on his way too, once the Leaving Certificate is put to bed. The Clontarf fast bowler has already had a successful trial with Hampshire, but Sussex are also keen to contract him.

But whether the likes of Coghlan and Young ever get the chance to play in a one-day World Cup is now in the lap of cricket's self-professed gods.

Yesterday Indians celebrated Holi, a riotous festival where people throw coloured powders and waters over each other. But as the cold purple dawn crept over Kolkata, Ireland's cricketers knew they had missed their own chance to paint the town red. They did provide a splash of colour to an often predictable event, but the primary emotion as they packed their cases on Saturday was regret at a missed opportunity.

The real regret at elimination, however, is not just that players such as Johnston, Joyce and Botha couldn't crown their careers in a World Cup quarter-final, but that the next generation may be hampered in its own efforts to do so.

Gerard Siggins has written about Irish cricket for more than a quarter of a century. He has written four books, including Raiders of the Caribbean with Trent Johnston

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY randika_ayya on | March 23, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    Lovely article and as Sri Lankan I salute the Irish for being brave against the so called bast and holding their own. Its what we did well in the eighties just like NZ before us in the seventies and sixties. However there was no proper follow us after SL from Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. I hope Ireland will fill that void and come through as a top nation. Apart from the Irish, countries like Netherlands, Afghanistan, Kenya and Canada too deserve A team tours from top test nations to sharpen their cricketing instinct. I hope the Sri Lankan tour to Scotland where they face-off against the irish in a trinagular will set a good precedent!

  • POSTED BY CricketisKing on | March 22, 2011, 21:35 GMT

    Instead of giving Zimbabwe Test status, the Idiot Cricket Council should have given Ireland that status. Ireland is by far the best Associate nation. With a little more exposure to the regular Test playing nations, Ireland will be a force to reckon with. I hope the Idiot Cricket Council realizes and recognizes this. In fact I feel that Ireland can even be better than Bangladesh - a country that is proving unworthy of its status as a Test playing nation. I was a big supporter of Bangladesh when they came into the fold but they have disappointed me ever since. They never seem to put up a fight. Hope Ireland comes into the fold very soon.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2011, 20:12 GMT

    It will be a shame if Irish guys don't play in the next world cup!!!!!Cricket is the fastest growing sport in Ireland but if ICC doesn't allow them 2 play next WC then Cricket won't grow and very soon it will die out.......

  • POSTED BY PrashantK93 on | March 22, 2011, 16:03 GMT

    @Ryazath Gooner India and South Africa also joined Ireland after the 2007 World Cup.

  • POSTED BY ChandrashekharLimit on | March 22, 2011, 13:22 GMT

    Fully agree. Just when it seemed like the game is catching on in some of the associate nations, the idiots at ICC decides to cut them short. Make it 12 teams if you're so worried about the quality of the game. Drop Kenya and Netherlands (even though they weren't that bad themselves).

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2011, 10:11 GMT

    The Irish hav no business being called minnows anymore. They hav proved enough. They hav shown 07 was not a fluke. Although 4 associates is a bit too much, 2 associates must play the world cup. More importantly, the ICC should take steps necessary to make the associate nations play more games with test nations. The Irish especially, hav shown they belong, hope the ICC dont mess this up, as they always do.

  • POSTED BY John-Price on | March 22, 2011, 9:41 GMT

    Isn't it time England invited Ireland for a three match one-day series with a couple of 20-20s thrown in? They are a wonderful entertaining team, full of personality and flair. England owe them some support, not least in return for Eoin Morgan

  • POSTED BY _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on | March 22, 2011, 2:53 GMT

    Ire deserves more cricket games against full nations than they are scheduled for. I personally think they have been better than Zim and only experience separates them from the SLIGHTLY better Bangladesh. I think that they should even get test status, they look like the next NZ, punchers above weight

  • POSTED BY MeijiMura on | March 22, 2011, 1:16 GMT

    If Zimbabwe are being re-admitted to Test Cricket later this year I see no reason as to why Ireland shouldn't be admitted alongside them.

    I was very impressed with what I saw of the Irish cricket team.

    I think they have some real prospects and some serious talent throughout their whole squad which I found to be very well balanced.

    Given a little more discipline with the bat against Bangladesh and had that crucial catch off Pollard that went down been taken in the loss against the West Indies, they might well have qualified for the Quarter-Finals and who knows what would have happened, especially so if they came up against an unpredictable side like Pakistan?

    I see only good coming from admitting Ireland to Test Cricket post-haste as they certainly have more going for them than Bangladesh right now and they certainly have a much more settled line-up and stronger look to their batting and bowling than Zimbabwe do.

    All they need now is to be given a chance.

  • POSTED BY ramxis on | March 21, 2011, 22:07 GMT

    i think icc should give them a test membership they deserve it they have proved they deserve a chance

  • POSTED BY randika_ayya on | March 23, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    Lovely article and as Sri Lankan I salute the Irish for being brave against the so called bast and holding their own. Its what we did well in the eighties just like NZ before us in the seventies and sixties. However there was no proper follow us after SL from Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. I hope Ireland will fill that void and come through as a top nation. Apart from the Irish, countries like Netherlands, Afghanistan, Kenya and Canada too deserve A team tours from top test nations to sharpen their cricketing instinct. I hope the Sri Lankan tour to Scotland where they face-off against the irish in a trinagular will set a good precedent!

  • POSTED BY CricketisKing on | March 22, 2011, 21:35 GMT

    Instead of giving Zimbabwe Test status, the Idiot Cricket Council should have given Ireland that status. Ireland is by far the best Associate nation. With a little more exposure to the regular Test playing nations, Ireland will be a force to reckon with. I hope the Idiot Cricket Council realizes and recognizes this. In fact I feel that Ireland can even be better than Bangladesh - a country that is proving unworthy of its status as a Test playing nation. I was a big supporter of Bangladesh when they came into the fold but they have disappointed me ever since. They never seem to put up a fight. Hope Ireland comes into the fold very soon.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2011, 20:12 GMT

    It will be a shame if Irish guys don't play in the next world cup!!!!!Cricket is the fastest growing sport in Ireland but if ICC doesn't allow them 2 play next WC then Cricket won't grow and very soon it will die out.......

  • POSTED BY PrashantK93 on | March 22, 2011, 16:03 GMT

    @Ryazath Gooner India and South Africa also joined Ireland after the 2007 World Cup.

  • POSTED BY ChandrashekharLimit on | March 22, 2011, 13:22 GMT

    Fully agree. Just when it seemed like the game is catching on in some of the associate nations, the idiots at ICC decides to cut them short. Make it 12 teams if you're so worried about the quality of the game. Drop Kenya and Netherlands (even though they weren't that bad themselves).

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2011, 10:11 GMT

    The Irish hav no business being called minnows anymore. They hav proved enough. They hav shown 07 was not a fluke. Although 4 associates is a bit too much, 2 associates must play the world cup. More importantly, the ICC should take steps necessary to make the associate nations play more games with test nations. The Irish especially, hav shown they belong, hope the ICC dont mess this up, as they always do.

  • POSTED BY John-Price on | March 22, 2011, 9:41 GMT

    Isn't it time England invited Ireland for a three match one-day series with a couple of 20-20s thrown in? They are a wonderful entertaining team, full of personality and flair. England owe them some support, not least in return for Eoin Morgan

  • POSTED BY _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on | March 22, 2011, 2:53 GMT

    Ire deserves more cricket games against full nations than they are scheduled for. I personally think they have been better than Zim and only experience separates them from the SLIGHTLY better Bangladesh. I think that they should even get test status, they look like the next NZ, punchers above weight

  • POSTED BY MeijiMura on | March 22, 2011, 1:16 GMT

    If Zimbabwe are being re-admitted to Test Cricket later this year I see no reason as to why Ireland shouldn't be admitted alongside them.

    I was very impressed with what I saw of the Irish cricket team.

    I think they have some real prospects and some serious talent throughout their whole squad which I found to be very well balanced.

    Given a little more discipline with the bat against Bangladesh and had that crucial catch off Pollard that went down been taken in the loss against the West Indies, they might well have qualified for the Quarter-Finals and who knows what would have happened, especially so if they came up against an unpredictable side like Pakistan?

    I see only good coming from admitting Ireland to Test Cricket post-haste as they certainly have more going for them than Bangladesh right now and they certainly have a much more settled line-up and stronger look to their batting and bowling than Zimbabwe do.

    All they need now is to be given a chance.

  • POSTED BY ramxis on | March 21, 2011, 22:07 GMT

    i think icc should give them a test membership they deserve it they have proved they deserve a chance

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2011, 21:54 GMT

    Ireland are in talks with pakistan now about playing a few odis

  • POSTED BY Grutness on | March 21, 2011, 21:40 GMT

    The bloated nature of world cups has little to do with the presence or absence of minnows. In 1992 the cup had nine teams and 43 matches. This year it had 14 teams and just six more games. Rugby Sevens tournaments have 16 teams, with a split competition for playoffs and finals (i.e., more "meaningful games") and yet have only 40 games, with every team playing either five or six games - the same number as the 14 teams played at the 2011 ICC tournament. Reformat the competition sensibly and encourage the "minnows" - plus Ireland, who can no longer be considered a minnow - to grow the sport. Otherwise the impetus will be lost, as it was with Bermuda, and as it may well be in Kenya.

  • POSTED BY funkyandy on | March 21, 2011, 21:23 GMT

    As an Irishman and a huge cricket fan - the obvious block to all our team's aspirations are the ICC. Mariofan97 is dead right, its all about the money. India's calling the shots and won't want to split the ICC money with Ireland - the BCCI would believe that Ireland would start voting with England (much like how Bangladesh support India in the ICC). However continued support from all you on Cricinfo is a clear indication that world cricket fans recognise that Ireland do have a really good, competitive team.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | March 21, 2011, 19:30 GMT

    @youngkeepersdad - there is plenty of scope for an Associate nation like Ireland to play Internationals in Oz, apart from novelty factor. Take the recent 7 match bilateral ODI series between Oz & England, IF it was turned into a Trilateral competition, where 3 sides played each other twice & the top 2 teams played a winner takes all final, you would get..... 7 matches! Obviously the matches between the non-Oz teams would not rate as highly, but a Final (hopefully with Oz in it), would make up for those lower rating matches. That being said Ireland v England, would have to rate more highly in Oz than say Bangladesh v Afghanistan, so the mix would have to be right. I think SL AND Zim, improved heaps by being involved in the old Tri-series format held in Oz, the same could happen for Minnows again in the future. BRING BACK THE TRISERIES CONCEPT!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY fataquie on | March 21, 2011, 16:51 GMT

    The associates need to be there in all major competitions. ICC is just afraid that a big gun like India gets knocked out early and they will use their TV audience. If that is the case, so be it!

  • POSTED BY Rakesh_Sharma on | March 21, 2011, 15:55 GMT

    IRELAND is the only Associate in the history of world cups who has more fan following than even some Test teams in the history of World cup of cricket. They add color, distinct flavour and charm to World cup. Get them in as Full member.Ireland sells more than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe combined. It can only help Cricket. Gerrard I hope you convey the message rather than just writing the blog.

  • POSTED BY Rakesh_Sharma on | March 21, 2011, 15:50 GMT

    Without any new team in WC, there is no difference between WC and Champions trophy. I feel of late ICC and media re hand in glove trying to create opinion(like political opinion makers) against Ireland but careful enough to support Bangladesh whose performance was worse despite being at home and 13 years experience of playing top teams. Ireland must be full member with ODI to begin and Tests subsequently may be in 4 to 5 years time. You can only learn by playing strong teams.

  • POSTED BY gargi_vizag on | March 21, 2011, 15:25 GMT

    Ireland has been a stand-out team in this world cup. I would love to see them play a 5 match one-day series against Bangladesh/Zimbabwe.They are a team with lots of talent, it would be a great crime if they were denied chances to compete at the highest level. Cricket is a sport which is played by few countries and ICC needs to do everything in their control to ensure new teams come to the fore. We have not had a major team since Sril Lanka way back in the 80's, Zimbabwe, even though was made a full member have their own issues to sort out. How i would love to see couple of this Irish guys play in the IPL!!!

  • POSTED BY GeekyCricket on | March 21, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    Ireland is a wonderfull country. I lived in Ireland for 4 years. I have to admit they made me feel like their own.They are passionate about everything, they give everything to whatever they set thier minds to.Cricket Ireland and its players deserve every mention they get. I was blown away by the commitment the cricket clubs in Ireland show for this wonderfull game. I had the pleasure and honour of watching obrein's and trent Johnston very closely.These players give everything to their country and their clubs. They would be there preparing the square and wickets during winter digging up the mud,preparing nets, draining the grounds when it rains.I once asked Niall, what inspires them to do what they do. The answer was, Mate"we love cricket".That says it all. There are lot of people in Ireland who have directly or indirectly associated with the crickets clubs which has helped these players on thier way. They can be proud of what the boys have done for them.Long live the Irish circket!

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    It will be an absolute tragedy if Ireland doesn't participate in the next world cup. As an Australian, Ireland would be one of my first choice teams to watch. And I think that feeling would be pretty widespread. They've surely done more than enough in the last two world cups to earn their spot (and a stack of ODI opportunities in the interim). As the only decent homegrown side outside the top ten (at the moment), Ireland need to be given the chance to play top level cricket, or a great chance will be lost.

    You only need to look at what recent football world cups - particularly 2006 - have done for Australian soccer popularity (though not success, admittedly). If we got blocked from playing in the next football world cup, that would be seriously damaging to us. I can only imagine the effect on cricket in Ireland would be the same.

  • POSTED BY Vasi-Koosi on | March 21, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    I don't see anything wrong in the 14 team policy ok, cut it down to 12 if you want, but don't make it 10 It is not just irish, look at canada and NL (though they have not won matches)... Make the A teams of permanent members tour the associates regularly 2 nations a year with reciprocation. That makes it 4 tours; Next make the teams qualifying for CLT20 to spend 2 weeks with the WC Qualifiers on a triangular or Quadrangular tournaments. Who pays for this, the CLT20/ICC Coffers on a 40/60 ratio ofcourse.

    If we can get this implemented, the next worldcup might not be just attendance for the associate members, they might shake a leg with wins...

  • POSTED BY Sportsscientist on | March 21, 2011, 13:44 GMT

    irrespective of who wins the world cup, i predict that the major talking point will be ireland's future involvement in international cricket and what next for the countries cricket team. in 1990, no one talked about argentina, brazil, or germany......it was about cameroon, and the emergence of footballers new markets in africa. ever since FIFA have tried to fast track/develop the game in Asia & Africa. This serves the purpose of globally developing the game. Question is....not whether Ireland does or does not get full member status, or ODI status, or if they keep loosing their players to england, but if 10 nations game endulge themselves in a global game indefinately without developing a way of growing it's membership???? we all know that within decades as other games like basketball and rugby begin to grow internationally, cricket could potentially slide into being a second rate past time.

  • POSTED BY Copernicus on | March 21, 2011, 13:18 GMT

    Hmm, not sure whther Irish cricket is yet big enough for a competitive domestic first-class system but it might be worth exploring the idea of merging Ireland (and for that matter Scotland)'s domestic cricket with the county structure as they would have enough talent for perhaps 2 competitive sides. Glamorgan already plays, so why not the rest of Britain? Can only be good for the development of the game. And just on that - development - I'm bewildered that the moneygrubs in Dubai haven't worked out that to grow cricket would end up being a prudent investment given the increased financial pool available with more topflight teams....their current plan seems only to involve milking world cricket dry until it is all but dead.

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2011, 12:19 GMT

    On a good day, Ireland are as good as West Indies

    I seriously doubt the format of a tournament that sees West Indies through after defeating three associate nations, whereas Bangladesh with the same points as WI and wins against 2 test teams wasn't able to qualify.

    Further, if teams like Ireland can't play next year, it will be a big loss. Kevin O'Brien played arguably the best ODI innings of the past decade.

  • POSTED BY BlorScouser on | March 21, 2011, 11:10 GMT

    Excellent article. Hope the head honchos at the ICC and the full members take note of the need to promote and sustain the game in Ireland and across the globe. The first step is to guarantee the likes of ireland and afghanistan a chance to atleast attempt to qualify for the world cup. Reduce the number of teams, but ensure a fair qualifier. This would include regular competitive action for all the associates. Credit to Sri lanka for planning a series with ireland and scotland on their england tour.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | March 21, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    Zimbabwe are about to return to Test cricket, I don't think they are better than Ireland. Despite the Bangas copping 2 massive defeats at this WC - they have improved significantly due to Test exposure. Ireland MUST be considered for Full Member status, I think they would be very marketable. If Ireland were to be given Test status, they would have to play against the lower ranked test teams with maybe a "local derby" one off test v England. Ireland are using a great old leveller in cricket - fielding. If you are the best fielding side in the world - your bowlers take more wickets & opposition bowlers can't score as many runs & it takes the pressure of the batsmen. Great work Ireland. I think the ICC should be commended for creating the pathways to get Associates to this level (50 over cricket), they now need to finish the job & get Associates to the next level (Tests). Look fwd to seeing how Afghanistan progress too!

  • POSTED BY mariofan97 on | March 21, 2011, 10:09 GMT

    As an Aussie, i think that CA only cares about ... wait for it... $$$$$$$$$$$ Next WC should be same as this 1 except 2 groups of 6 instead of 7 and the top 4 make it to the QFs

  • POSTED BY ygkd on | March 21, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    If the cricket-watching public in India, England and Australia were to get firmly behind the Associate nations, things might yet change for the better. If you agree, add your tuppence-worth to the conversation.

  • POSTED BY MrGarreth on | March 21, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    The ICC are like the bride with cold feet at the alter: Push these non-cricket playing nations into cricket and encourage them to embrace it and when they do and it comes to the crunch of them becoming full members, the ICC abandon them. To give hope and promise and then not deliver is as cruel as you can get no matter what way you look at it. The ICC should hang their heads in shame.

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    Certainly, Ireland has impressed everyone in this world cup more than anybody else. Every one wanted to see them playing. Now it is ICC's turn to do something good to cricket. Grant them at least 3 ODIs against all test playing nations this year. I'am sure, they will prove that they are a better side than Zimbabwe n Bangladesh.

  • POSTED BY TerryRoberts on | March 21, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    Nice article:) i hope the ICC uses a lil more brains, for a change!!!

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2011, 8:35 GMT

    The Irish have as much right as anybody else to be at the next world cup but the ICC must change their attitudes first and foremost. We need the T20 World Cup, The ICC World Cup and Tests. No champions trophy, no meaningless tournaments, just properly scheduled cricket, every 2 years apart for the T20/50over WCs, like the football World Cup/Euro Championships. A set way of running said tournaments too, 16 teams, 4 groups of 4 teams, games running concurrently, not pandering to boards or tv providers, offering a 'red button' service like sky do for champions league football. 3 rest days between games, a total of 3 group games per side, top 2 make knockout stage, then quarter finals, semi finals and a final.

    We must NOT cut off the Irelands, the Netherlands, the Zimbabwes and the Afghanistans of this world. They have as much right to be in each of these tournaments as any other team.

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2011, 7:41 GMT

    I hope they get to play in 2015... They deserve it .. they really do... May be tenth team could be Ireland ...

  • POSTED BY harmske on | March 21, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    good outing from ireland in the WC - they could well have made the quarters had they had a bit more exposure to playing the full members under pressure. hopefully they get more game time against the top teams in the future - look forward to seeing them play more often.

  • POSTED BY siddhant328 on | March 21, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    Thank you Gerard, for acquainting us with somewhat mini Ireland Cricket Chronicle and gestating us with the Cric Atmos in Irish zone.

    Now, since it has been exonerated that Cricket meant to be the biggest sport of nation in 1870's, I can say that, after transcending through its Dark Age, the Indus Valley alike buried Irish Cricket civilization now desires to come out from the patches of Mohen-Jodaro. Their approach somehow addressed the sort of eagerness to get onto the position they feel they should have been at the moment. The body language expressed, " We are members of cricket's prominent family, are here to propel in our game and wanna fill the gap of those dark 150 yrs". Received appreciable attention in this WC... Nice to see everyone dealing Ireland seriously, positively and welcoming the New_but_Old force of Cricket family. Those who watched performing Stirling and Dockrell must have to say that future of Irish Cricket is promising.

  • POSTED BY ravikumarsinha on | March 21, 2011, 6:44 GMT

    this is the right time to give more opportunities to Irish team. they have something extra in their sleeve. india, australia and england must support ireland and send there A team regularly.

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    With the right backing they really can progress as a cricketing force, but they need to be treated far better than Kenya were after 2003.

    The most important things Ireland need are more ICC funding and a FC structureI think a system similar to the Zimbabwean system could be helpful in increasing the number of full-time professional players, which can be supplemented by following the example of the Zimbabwean system and allowing some of the more quality Dutch or Scottish players into the mix, along with any English players who leave, or fall out of the county structure, but still want the opportunity to play first-class cricket.

    All they need are teams representing the major cities, such as Dublin, Belfast etc to create a pool of about 6 franchises/teams and competitions in all three formats, and this system can be instituted and nurtured in preparation for a step up to full member status and eventually, hopefully Test Cricket

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2011, 6:30 GMT

    Please sHow us how did they celebrate their St. Patty's day.

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2011, 6:26 GMT

    Well written article ! Cheers !

  • POSTED BY Htc-Baseball on | March 21, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    disheartening to hear and read this article...ireland by far is the best and consistent among the associates.made everyteam run for their money .even SA wen they bowled at them.If a qualifying event occurs ,ireland can easily make it through.......Not 13 more wearing green ,,there are a million wearing blue who loves irish cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2011, 6:08 GMT

    Other big nations should learn from Sri Lanka.

    "Ireland and Sri Lanka join tri-series in Scotland during julu 2011" :D

  • POSTED BY crackers134 on | March 21, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    Great article, Ireland need to be fixtured against all the top nations as often as possible.

  • POSTED BY Rakesh_Sharma on | March 21, 2011, 5:51 GMT

    Hi Gerard,The fact is 95% of cricket fans want Ireland included among Top members. Just check the posts,opinions. Why are you not starting a forum, online,facebook,Twitter, etcetc so that the info gets across to relevant people. Do our opinions on cricinfo count anyway?I am not sure. Sometimes I feel Ireland Board themselves are not confident.They are a bit hesitant. Ireland is ahomegrown team unlike Netherland who has mostly SA players. Ireland must come out of label of Minnow.

  • POSTED BY Rakesh_Sharma on | March 21, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    "They have plenty of backing for their progress - except from the people who really matter". It depends on whom Irish officials are lobbying with. The Board to lobby is India. I understand Irish Cricket CEO Mr.Warren Deutrom was in India along with Irish Sports Minister. As a smart lobbyst Deutrom should have had meeting with Indian minister Mr. Sharad Pawar along with Irish Minister. Sharad Pawar is BCCI President and that's it .This is how Ireland must make the things to matter rather than guys in ICC who wants to prevent growth of cricket with trick of 10 team WC.Ireland must have Full membership atleast with ODI.This will allow them in Future tour program and grow the game.

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    Brilliant article. Can only hope the ICC comes to its senses and grants Ireland Test status to overcome this stupid disparity they currently face.

  • POSTED BY PrashantK93 on | March 21, 2011, 5:30 GMT

    After watching Ireland do so well in this world cup nobody will doubt their ability to play against the team. I personally feel they should be given the Test Status now and for the 2015 World Cup there should be 12 teams(10test nations+ associates) for which a qualifying tournament should be held.The report was an eye-opener for people like me who didn't knew much about the problems faced by the associate nations.This really was an excellent report

  • POSTED BY andrew.henshaw on | March 21, 2011, 5:20 GMT

    Fantastic article. If Ireland had beaten West Indies, Ireland would be in the Quarter Finals against Pakistan! Well done to Cricinfo for printing this article too.

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    I hope someone forwards this to not just the ICC, but the boards of all the Full Member nations. Sri Lanka are playing Ireland and Scotland in the summer, and if all the other Full Member countries would pay less attention to the IPL and more attention to helping the Associate teams gain exposure and experience, only then can cricket be a truly global sport.

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | March 21, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    In the past I had only heard of how good the Irish were in cricket. I had seen Eoin Morgan's play even if in representing England and knew that he was someone very special. He seemed nerveless and intelligent not seen very often on a cricket field. But before this World Cup I could never have imagined a group of such spirited sportsmen. Seemingly happy go lucky which looked deceptive when viewed on the face of their never say die toughness. The O'Brian brothers,the Moonys and Stirlings and the Rankins and Johnstons have left an indelible impression on the minds of the people in India both young and old.Of their ay of playing cricket. But for the fact that Kevin Obrien plays for Ireland, he could easily be mistaken for Freddie Flintoff with the same level of beef and power hitting.It has been a pleasure having the Irish in India and I hope that they take their game more seriously.

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2011, 4:12 GMT

    Excellent report again Ger.

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  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2011, 4:12 GMT

    Excellent report again Ger.

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | March 21, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    In the past I had only heard of how good the Irish were in cricket. I had seen Eoin Morgan's play even if in representing England and knew that he was someone very special. He seemed nerveless and intelligent not seen very often on a cricket field. But before this World Cup I could never have imagined a group of such spirited sportsmen. Seemingly happy go lucky which looked deceptive when viewed on the face of their never say die toughness. The O'Brian brothers,the Moonys and Stirlings and the Rankins and Johnstons have left an indelible impression on the minds of the people in India both young and old.Of their ay of playing cricket. But for the fact that Kevin Obrien plays for Ireland, he could easily be mistaken for Freddie Flintoff with the same level of beef and power hitting.It has been a pleasure having the Irish in India and I hope that they take their game more seriously.

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    I hope someone forwards this to not just the ICC, but the boards of all the Full Member nations. Sri Lanka are playing Ireland and Scotland in the summer, and if all the other Full Member countries would pay less attention to the IPL and more attention to helping the Associate teams gain exposure and experience, only then can cricket be a truly global sport.

  • POSTED BY andrew.henshaw on | March 21, 2011, 5:20 GMT

    Fantastic article. If Ireland had beaten West Indies, Ireland would be in the Quarter Finals against Pakistan! Well done to Cricinfo for printing this article too.

  • POSTED BY PrashantK93 on | March 21, 2011, 5:30 GMT

    After watching Ireland do so well in this world cup nobody will doubt their ability to play against the team. I personally feel they should be given the Test Status now and for the 2015 World Cup there should be 12 teams(10test nations+ associates) for which a qualifying tournament should be held.The report was an eye-opener for people like me who didn't knew much about the problems faced by the associate nations.This really was an excellent report

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    Brilliant article. Can only hope the ICC comes to its senses and grants Ireland Test status to overcome this stupid disparity they currently face.

  • POSTED BY Rakesh_Sharma on | March 21, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    "They have plenty of backing for their progress - except from the people who really matter". It depends on whom Irish officials are lobbying with. The Board to lobby is India. I understand Irish Cricket CEO Mr.Warren Deutrom was in India along with Irish Sports Minister. As a smart lobbyst Deutrom should have had meeting with Indian minister Mr. Sharad Pawar along with Irish Minister. Sharad Pawar is BCCI President and that's it .This is how Ireland must make the things to matter rather than guys in ICC who wants to prevent growth of cricket with trick of 10 team WC.Ireland must have Full membership atleast with ODI.This will allow them in Future tour program and grow the game.

  • POSTED BY Rakesh_Sharma on | March 21, 2011, 5:51 GMT

    Hi Gerard,The fact is 95% of cricket fans want Ireland included among Top members. Just check the posts,opinions. Why are you not starting a forum, online,facebook,Twitter, etcetc so that the info gets across to relevant people. Do our opinions on cricinfo count anyway?I am not sure. Sometimes I feel Ireland Board themselves are not confident.They are a bit hesitant. Ireland is ahomegrown team unlike Netherland who has mostly SA players. Ireland must come out of label of Minnow.

  • POSTED BY crackers134 on | March 21, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    Great article, Ireland need to be fixtured against all the top nations as often as possible.

  • POSTED BY on | March 21, 2011, 6:08 GMT

    Other big nations should learn from Sri Lanka.

    "Ireland and Sri Lanka join tri-series in Scotland during julu 2011" :D