Ger Siggins, May 2018
1904 beat South Africa at the Mardyke
The tourists only lost three games all summer and beat the England XI by 189 runs, but a soft Cork pitch was their undoing. In a low-scoring game Ireland were all out for 160 with the top-score of the match the 40 by skipper Frank Browning, later killed in the Easter Rising. The tall Phoenix medium-pacer Tom Ross then took 9-28 as the visitors were bundled out for 64. Ireland replied with 135 (Browning 31no) but Bill Harrington (5-66) saw off the visitors for 138.
1928 beat West Indies at College Park
Ireland led by 31 runs on first innings but were in trouble at 92-6. In strode Trinity student George McVeagh who went on the attack with Jacko Heaslip (44) and Patrick Thornton (37) to raise the total to 320 all out. McVeagh hit ten fours in his unbeaten 102. The Windies, with over five hours to get 352, were 213-2 at one stage but a brilliant boundary catch by McVeagh started a collapse and Tom Dixon took 4-76 as Ireland won by 60 runs with four minutes to spare.
1969 beat West Indies at Sion Mills
The most celebrated game in Irish cricket history, when the visitors were bowled out for a scarcely credible 25. There was much speculation that the visitors had celebrated too well the night before, but the truth was they had just come from a Test win on a hard pitch at Lord’s to a soft green one in Co Derry. Alec O’Riordan (4-18) and Dougie Goodwin (5-6) bowled straight and injudicious shots did for the tourists, who gave nine catches. David Pigot (37) and O’Riordan (35) saw Ireland complete a facile win.
1997 beat Middlesex at Clontarf
Ireland competed in various English one-day competitions from 1980, but it wasn’t until the 27th attempt that they beat a county. South Africa captain Hansie Cronje, whose sojourn was paid for by Independent Newspapers, scored 94 and Decker Curry 75 as Ireland totalled 281-4 against Middlesex, who fielded Test stars Mike Gatting, Phil Tufnell, Angus Fraser and Mark Ramprakash. Rain interrupted the reply which went into a second day with Middlesex on 132-6. A brilliant catch by Peter Gillespie off Greg Molins turned the game and Ireland won by 46 runs.
2007 tied with Zimbabwe at Sabina Park
Ireland’s first game at a World Cup ended in a thrilling tie in Kingston, Jamaica. Ireland had underperformed with the bat, but Jeremy Bray made a brilliant unbeaten 115 when the next highest score was just 28. Chasing 222 to win, Zimbabwe reached 203 with five wickets in hand before a lucky run-out by Kyle McCallan set a collapse in motion. Pressure bowling and suicidal run-outs saw the Africans collapse to 221 all out on the last ball.
2007 beat Pakistan at Sabina Park
Two days later, at the same ground, a bright green pitch was prepared for St Patrick’s Day. Superb bowling, particularly by Andre Botha (8-4-5-2) reduced Pakistan to 132 all out. Ireland lost wickets steadily, but Niall O’Brien remained defiant and totalled 72 before he fell on 105-5. Two more wickets fell in two balls, but with several breaks for rain Kevin O’Brien made 16 off 52 and, fittingly, inspirational captain Trent Johnston hit the winning six for a three wicket win that sparked the sport’s revival and growth in the past decade.
2011 beat England at M Chinnaswamy Stadium
One of the greatest performances ever at a World Cup saw Ireland recover from a near-hopeless position to beat their oldest enemy in the Indian city of Bangalore. England had smashed 327-8, with John Mooney’s 4-63 the only Irish bowling highlight. At 111-5 in reply Ireland were all but beaten but Kevin O’Brien (113) made the fastest World Cup century in just 50 balls and found allies in Alex Cusack (47) and Mooney (33no) to win in the final over.
2015 beat West Indies at Saxton Oval
The opening game of the World Cup in Nelson, New Zealand saw George Dockrell (3-50) demolish the Windies top order but with Ireland coach Phil Simmons’s nephew Lendl making 102 they totalled 304-7. However, a complete batting display by Paul Stirling (92), Ed Joyce (84) and Niall O’Brien (79no) saw Ireland win with 4.1 overs to spare. It was Ireland’s third successful 300+ chase at World Cups, more than any other nation.