"Come on Ireland, come on Ireland, we are going bring the World Cup back. But win or lose, we're going to have the craic."

Back in 2007 the Fingal Independent ran a competition to come up with the perfect Irish cricket team anthem for the World Cup.

The competition was the brainchild of current Cricket Ireland President David O'Connor, and with sponsorship from the newspaper and Murphy Environmental a 1000 Euros prize was offered.

"The World Cup is something totally new for Irish cricket, and it was felt by many that we needed an anthem to mark the occasion, and we'll be singing the winning song in Jamaica, " said O'Connor at the launch.

O'Connor, newspaper editor Hubert Murphy and two-times CI President Arthur Vincent formed the judging panel at the finals, where the short-listed five of 43 entries sang in front of an audience at the Irish Cricket School of Excellence in Balrothery.

The competition attracted entries from London, Glasgow, Kerry and Mayo, but was won by a local cricketer Martin Byrne from Skerries.

We caught up with The Hills man 13 years later, to reminisce about his win in the song contest.

What’s your memory about the song?

“Oh my God! Fair few runs under the bridge since 2007. I remember the song contest which caused a bit of a buzz at the time in the area. It was really a bit of fun, but it got there and I won the prize."

What was the inspiration for the song?

“ If anyone knows me, I am always whistling or humming a song. Music is always buzzing around in my head.

“I was watching Ireland play England in the rugby match from Croke Park earlier that year and the roar of COME ON IRELAND just stuck in my head.

"I live just outside Skerries, actually just down from the crossroads where the Hills cricket club gets its name from, The Black Hills. I had a job going on in Dunshaughlin at the time, which is about 50 minutes drive and on route one morning it fell into place. I’d say it was written in one day."

Despite the success of the team at the World Cup, the song didn't exactly storm the charts, and there was to be no fame for the quietly spoken songwriter.

 “I think BBC or RTE might have played a few bars as background music on their newsfeeds from bars when the cricket boys were going well but no, not really a big hit on TV.

"I was told by a few of the Hills lads who went to Jamaica, that it was played over the speakers in Sabina Park at one of the games so that is nice. Bob Marley and Martin Byrne on the same card!"

No fame from the song, and alas no fortune either as Byrne recalls where the prize money went,

"The 1000 euros went to my son who was heading to the United States that year and it got turned into the US dollars. It didn’t get into the top 30 or onto Top of the Pops so no, I didn’t make money out of it.”

Still active in the music scene, does he still play it?

“To be honest, it’s a no. I’d have to look up some of the lines. It’s a sort of requested song. I love it for its memories and the story around it but I love loads of songs and their own stories.”

The other four entries that were beaten by Byrne were Paul Kelly and his backing group, that included singers who got well into the spirit of things and even brought a shark along, singing ‘Slow boat to Jamaica.'

Colm Reilly and Peter Baxter from Balbriggan combined to deliver ‘Ireland in the Green' while Norman Wylie travelled all the way from Westport with his ‘Bowl the World Over.'

The final performers on the night were the brothers from Firhouse, Kevin and Phelim Warren with ‘Ireland Hit ‘em Hard.'

There is a recording on YouTube of Martin singing the sing with updated lyrics after Ireland beat England at the 2011 World Cup.


Altogether now, "Come on Ireland. Come on Ireland.."