I reckon when Tim Murtagh was passed fit to play in the ICup match against the UAE last week he probably didn't think he would have to work so hard to get one wicket!

When you think of playing at home for Ireland, you inmediately think, green wicket that will provide a lot for the seamers and you will need to be on your guard as a batsman.

To be fair when we arrived that's what it looked like 2 days out from the game. The groundsman had not been able to get on the field to prepare it a huge amount due to the inclement weather.

Then when we arrived back on the day of the game it looked like a different wicket. It had clearly been rolled a lot in the previous 24 hours and all the work that he hd missed out on had been put in then.

In our minds though...still a bowl first wicket. When we lost the toss and were inserted, I don't think many of us thought that nearly 500 was plausible. We knew we had better batsmen than they had bowlers but a target of 400 was probably reasonable if we played well.

As it was Ed Joyce and Paul Stirling played brilliantly. We all know what Joycey is capable of in first class cricket but perhaps not many outside of the group would have believed that Paul was capable of batting with such maturity.

We are used to see him taking sides apart in the shorter forms of the game but this was an inning built properly, with a lot of thought put in.

Perhaps a message or two to his employers, Middlesex, who after only one game of the season saw fit to leave him out. He hasn't played since.

Once we had that many runs on the board it was was a case of, could we make them follow on. The pitch as we now had seen was flat bordering on lifeless for seam bowling, save maybe for the new ball and the way the UAE played was such that we had to stack so many balls in a good area, time after time to get our rewards.

Indeed, that is first class cricket and if we reach our goal of test cricket, that's what we will need to do. They were incredibly defensive in the way they went about their batting and the wicket was one which allowed them to camp on the front foot to our seamers and play them with their hands off the pitch.

If the wicket had just a little more zip to it there would have been a serious amount of catches for myself and the slip cordon. As it was we had to employ George Dockrell in a holding role and let our seamers bang away from the other.

Craig Young, who I was very impressed with had the most joy. He was able, with his extra pace to force their batsman onto the back foot where they didn't want to be and then go up and look for edges or LBW's.

It was the great to see Craig bowling with great confidence and indeed impressive pace. Hopefully he will be able to kick on from here and really lead our charge. The more he plays the better he will get and he can be a real asset for us in our bid to play the highest level.

I'm looking forward to seeing how my mate, Jason Roy goes for England when he plays the first game of the series against New Zealand. I've talked him up so many times and I really believe that him and Hales at the top of the English batting order can lead their charge to be a ODI force.

In fact, I think he can go on to even bigger things and try and find himself a place in the England test middle order. KP made his name in the shorter form of the game and although I didn't see much of Kevin when he was a younger player I can tell you that this guy is special.