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Ajantha Mendis spun Sri Lanka to a 79 runs win in the opening game of the RSA Insurance ODI Series at Clontarf.

The Sri Lankan mystery spinner claimed 3 for 27 as Ireland collapsed, losing six wickets for just 34 runs as 63 for 2 quickly became 97 for 8.

Ireland's pursuit of a victory target of 220 had gotten off to a terrible start, with Paul Stirling (4) playing on, and the in-form Ed Joyce (0) nicking behind to leave Ireland at 5 for 2.

William Porterfield dug in with Niall O'Brien, and the pair added 58 in relatively comfortable fashion to give Ireland a genuine chance of a famous win.

O'Brien in particular looked very fluent striking five boundaries in his 33 from just 39 balls, before being trapped by Mendis just before the first drinks interval.

Gary Wilson (3) was run out after a mix-up with his skipper, and Kevin O'Brien (0) fell first ball, completely mistiming a hook shot which lobbed tamely to midwicket. Stuart Thompson was palpably lbw to Mendis for a single, and thereafter the issue became not about winning but respectability.

Porterfield (37) holed out to deep midwicket, and it took a late rally from tailenders George Dockrell (18*), Max Sorensen (17) and Tim Murtagh (10) to get Ireland past the 100 mark, eventually being dismissed for 140.

Earlier the Irish bowling and fielding had been very determined, with Tim Murtagh (2-21) turning in one of his best displays in an Irish shirt.

There were several exceptional bits of fielding with Kevin O'Brien taking two outstanding catches - one at second slip from the fourth ball of the day - and the from his own bowling to dismiss Chandimal for 39.

Elder sibling Niall also got in on the act - throwing the stumps from fine leg to run out Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Matthews (30).

At 176 for 8 with just 22 balls left, Ireland would have been hoping to restrict the visitors to under 200, but a late burst from Kulasekera (42*) and Mendis (18*) saw 43 added, taking their total to 219 for 8.

The momentum had swung decisively towards Sri Lanka, and they never relinquished it, as their attack took full advantage of the helpful conditions.

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Castle Avenue, Clontarf