2013 was a great year for Irish cricket, clinching a treble of major trophies as they and Afghanistan juggled for supremacy across the formats.

Ireland had won the World Cup qualifying league ahead of the Afghans, with a tie against The Netherlands and back-to-back wins at home versus Scotland.

A memorable three weeks in UAE followed with a series of powerful displays seeing the side win the T20 World Cup Qualifiers, again beating Afghanistan with the best short form performance I've witnessed.

(John Mooney celebrates)

The batting was that good that the Afghan fans actually applauded Paul Stirling and Trent Johnston - unheard of from one of the most partisan and fanatical supporter sets around.

So, onto the ICC Academy ground and the InterContinental Cup final.

Ireland batted first and didn't get a great start, dismissed for a well below par 187, thanks mainly to John Anderson's 55.

It seemed as if Afghanistan would take a healthy lead but John Mooney had other ideas as he took a five-wicket haul to ensure Ireland had a slender five-run advantage.

Ireland were much more in control second time around with Ed Joyce and Niall O'Brien making 50's, while Kevin O'Brien and Trent Johnston added late runs, showcasing their strength in depth.

Chasing 347, Afghanistan were in trouble with Mooney again the destroyer-in-chief as they slumped to 85 for 5, and the game was in real danger of finishing in three days.

However, Rahmat Shah and Nabi dug in and frustrated the Irish attack in a stubborn sixth wicket stand that threatened the Irish treble.

(Trent Johnston thanks the Lord for a wicket)

However, once the breakthrough was achieved, Ireland quickly ran through the lower order with Mooney claiming another five wicket haul, to finish with ten wickets in the match and the Man of the Match award.

This game was the final match in Irish colours for former skipper Trent Johnston and the players formed a guard of honour for him.

(Guard of honour for Trent Johnston)

This game was great to cover from a photographic point of view. There were two evenly matched teams who were really going for it and every wicket was celebrated with great emotion.

I was largely left alone to shoot wherever I wanted - apart from the PMOA area -, and with only one other photographer there, I more or less had a monopoly on the photos.

Great memories of a great team.

Ireland Vs Afghanistan
2-Innings Match Played At ICC Academy, Dubai, 10-Dec-2013, First Class
Ireland Win Outright by 122 runs

Round 836
Toss won by Afghanistan
Umpires S Prasad (Singapore) - RT Robinson (Eng) - BB Pradhan (Nepal)
Umpire notes Match referee: GF Labrooy (Sri Lanka)
Home Side (neutral)
Player of Match JF Mooney
Comment 836/12
Final of Intercontinental Cup 2011-2013
5-day match 10-14 December 2013
Close
Day 1 - Tues 10 - Aghanistan 1st inns 81-3 (30 ov, Rahmat Shah 12*, Asghar Stanikzai 11*)
Day 2 - Wed 11 Dec - Ireland 2nd inns 159-2 (46 ov, EC Joyce 74*, NJ O'Brien 40*)
Day 3 - Thur 12 Dec - Afghanistan 2nd inns 136-5 (43 ov, Rahmat Shah 35*, Mohammad Nabi 25*)
Day 4 - Fri, 13 Dec - day 4 - Afghanistan 2nd innings 224 (94.5 ov) - end of match
Match Report here

Ireland 1st Innings 187/10 All Out (Overs 61)

Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
WTS Porterfield* c Mohammad Nabi b Izatullah Dawlatza 1 5 0 0
PR Stirling c Afsar Zazai b Dawlat Zadran 17 26 3 0
EC Joyce c Afsar Zazai b Dawlat Zadran 11 20 2 0
NJ O'Brien+   b Dawlat Zadran 7 26 1 0
AR White lbw b Rahmat Shah 11 28 1 0
J Anderson c Nawroz Mangal b Rahmat Shah 55 111 7 0
KJ O'Brien c Afsar Zazai b Samiullah Shinwari 18 36 3 0
JF Mooney c Mohammad Shahzad b Dawlat Zadran 33 61 2 1
DT Johnston   b Rahmat Shah 0 3 0 0
MC Sorensen lbw b Samiullah Shinwari 13 20 2 0
GH Dockrell not out   14 34 2 0
extras   (b0 lb2 w0 nb5) 7      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 187      
FOW
1-8(WTS Porterfield) 2-28(PR Stirling) 3-33(EC Joyce) 4-50(NJ O'Brien)
5-67(AR White) 6-106(KJ O'Brien) 7-160(J Anderson) 8-160(JF Mooney)
9-164(DT Johnston) 10-187(MC Sorensen)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
Dawlat Zadran 16 5 44 4 - 2
Izatullah Dawlatza 10 2 42 1 - 3
Mirwais Ashraf 7 2 19 0 - -
Rahmat Shah 9 0 36 3 - -
Mohammad Nabi 12 5 18 0 - -
Samiullah Shinwari 7 2 26 2 - -

Afghanistan 1st Innings 182/10 All Out (Overs 77.5)

Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
Nawroz Mangal c NJ O'Brien b JF Mooney 13 48 2 0
Shabir Noori c AR White b JF Mooney 29 64 5 0
Mohammad Shahzad   c&b JF Mooney 16 21 3 0
Rahmat Shah c KJ O'Brien b JF Mooney 20 60 3 0
Asghar Afghan c NJ O'Brien b GH Dockrell 41 92 6 0
Mohammad Nabi* c EC Joyce b DT Johnston 42 90 7 0
Samiullah Shinwari c AR White b JF Mooney 5 8 1 0
Mirwais Ashraf c NJ O'Brien b DT Johnston 14 54 2 0
Afsar Zazai+ st NJ O'Brien b GH Dockrell 2 11 0 0
Dawlat Zadran st NJ O'Brien b GH Dockrell 0 14 0 0
Izatullah Dawlatza not out   0 5 0 0
extras   (b0 lb0 w0 nb0) 0      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 182      
FOW
1-29(Nawroz Mangal) 2-54(Shabir Noori) 3-59(Mohammad Shahzad) 4-116(Rahmat Shah)
5-120(Asghar Afghan) 6-133(Samiullah Shinwari) 7-175(Mirwais Ashraf)
8-182(Afsar Zazai) 9-182(Mohammad Nabi) 10-182(Dawlat Zadran)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
DT Johnston 24 9 50 2 - -
MC Sorensen 13 2 35 0 - -
GH Dockrell 25.5 7 52 3 - -
JF Mooney 14 3 45 5 - -
PR Stirling 1 1 0 0 - -

Ireland 2nd Innings 341/10 All Out (Overs 95.1)

Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
WTS Porterfield* c Rahmat Shah b Mohammad Nabi 34 32 6 1
PR Stirling c Afsar Zazai b Dawlat Zadran 7 9 0 0
EC Joyce   b Dawlat Zadran 78 136 14 0
NJ O'Brien+ c Shabir Noori b Mirwais Ashraf 87 198 9 0
AR White lbw b Rahmat Shah 39 76 4 0
J Anderson c Nawroz Mangal b Rahmat Shah 2 7 0 0
KJ O'Brien lbw b Mohammad Nabi 47 43 9 0
JF Mooney c Afsar Zazai b Mirwais Ashraf 3 5 0 0
DT Johnston c Mirwais Ashraf b Mohammad Nabi 31 40 5 0
MC Sorensen c Shabir Noori b Mohammad Nabi 0 3 0 0
GH Dockrell not out   8 22 1 0
extras   (b0 lb5 w0 nb0) 5      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 341      
FOW
1-15(PR Stirling) 2-53(WTS Porterfield) 3-163(EC Joyce) 4-244(AR White)
5-250(J Anderson) 6-258(NJ O'Brien) 7-274(JF Mooney) 8-316(KJ O'Brien)
9-316(MC Sorensen) 10-341(DT Johnston)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
Dawlat Zadran 20 1 101 2 - -
Izatullah Dawlatza 11 3 39 0 - -
Mirwais Ashraf 19 4 63 2 - -
Mohammad Nabi 25.1 7 38 4 - -
Samiullah Shinwari 4 0 32 0 - -
Rahmat Shah 12 0 58 2 - -
Shabir Noori 1 1 0 0 - -
Nawroz Mangal 3 0 5 0 - -

Afghanistan 2nd Innings 224/10 All Out (Overs 94.5)

Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
Shabir Noori lbw b DT Johnston 8 5 2 0
Nawroz Mangal c NJ O'Brien b JF Mooney 23 40 3 0
Mohammad Shahzad   c&b GH Dockrell 39 50 7 1
Rahmat Shah not out   86 252 12 0
Asghar Afghan   b GH Dockrell 2 10 0 0
Afsar Zazai+ lbw b GH Dockrell 0 4 0 0
Mohammad Nabi* lbw b MC Sorensen 49 174 7 0
Samiullah Shinwari c NJ O'Brien b JF Mooney 4 19 0 0
Mirwais Ashraf lbw b JF Mooney 0 2 0 0
Dawlat Zadran c EC Joyce b JF Mooney 1 7 0 0
Izatullah Dawlatza c EC Joyce b JF Mooney 0 6 0 0
extras   (b9 lb3 w0 nb0) 12      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 224      
FOW
1-8(Shabir Noori) 2-65(Nawroz Mangal) 3-75(Mohammad Shahzad) 4-85(Asghar Afghan)
5-85(Afsar Zazai) 6-199(Mohammad Nabi) 7-212(Samiullah Shinwari)
8-218(Mirwais Ashraf) 9-222(Dawlat Zadran) 10-224(Izatullah Dawlatza)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
DT Johnston 2 0 12 1 - -
MC Sorensen 21 6 69 1 - -
JF Mooney 19.5 7 36 5 - -
GH Dockrell 34 14 58 3 - -
KJ O'Brien 12 4 27 0 - -
J Anderson 5 0 10 0 - -
PR Stirling 1 1 0 0 - -