<
>

They had a dream

Ireland celebrate as Shane Watson departs early Associated Press

The game
This was the big game of the Irish summer. Matches with Full Members are few and far between - when we get them, we need to prove that our team can compete, and that we can support them.

Player watch
The Australian players who fielded in front of us - Nathan Hauritz, Ryan Harris and Clint McKay - were brilliant. Anybody who asked for an autograph got one, and the players' sense of humour and ability to engage with the crowd ensured that we all enjoyed the day.

Shot of the day
Not one shot, more an approach by the Ireland opening batsmen. They had already bowled and fielded like champions and needed to bat like champions too. In the first 12 overs, Ireland scored at seven an over. We dared to dream

Crowd meter
Since it was the biggest occasion of the cricket season, the stands were obviously packed. We sang, we cheered, many dressed up. Despite the unseasonal weather (hot sun, SPF50 required) we had our fair share of cavemen, sailors and crocodiles.

Fielding moment
Early in the day, one of the Australian batsmen was rude enough to slap one into the bar queue down by the nets' end. As the ball arrived, several hands raised to catch it. It sailed past many senior cricketers and was grassed. Mind you, not a drop was spilt.

Overall
This is just me, but I reckon the Aussies were worried. Imagine you're an Irish cricket fan. Imagine you get to watch, in amazing sunshine, your team compete with the world champions. Imagine you get to see this surrounded by your friends, all shouting for Ireland. Imagine that we could have beaten them. Statistically, at one point, we should have. Possibly, we could have. Imagine one day. We're incredibly proud of our team. Clontarf is a wonderful venue and the members rose to the challenge of putting on such an important match wonderfully.