Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Family hail cricketer's triumph

Kevin O'Brien celebrates scoring a century during the ICC Cricket World Cup match against England
Kevin O'Brien celebrates scoring a century during the ICC Cricket World Cup match against England

A sports-mad family from Ireland have toasted big-hitting batsman Kevin O'Brien after he single-handedly took England apart at the Cricket World Cup.

The Dubliner led his unfancied team-mates to the shock victory thanks to the fastest 100 in the competition's history.

The century man's brother, Ger, said: "Over the last six or eight months his batting has really flourished and he was destined to have a big knock.

"I am so proud. I followed some of it on the web and then I got out to see the climax of the game. When he got to 80 I knew he had a chance and he did nearly all of it in boundaries, which was amazing. He took them apart, even Graeme Swann, who is the number one spin bowler in the world."

Ireland won by three wickets after O'Brien smashed a stunning 113 and chased down 328 to beat an Ashes-winning England side captained by Andrew Strauss.

Kevin is one of five O'Brien brothers to play cricket, with Niall keeping wicket in the match. Their father, Brendan, who captained Ireland in the 1960s and 70s, was at the match in Bangalore, India, with wife Camilla.

Ger, president of the family club in Dublin - the Railway Union Cricket Club - said it was "a great day for Irish cricket".

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness offered their congratulations to the Irish team.

Mr Robinson said: "This is an outstanding achievement by the Irish cricket team. To defeat one of the best sides in the world by chasing down a runs total of over 300 is quite remarkable.

"Kevin O'Brien's stunning century, the fastest in the history of the Cricket World Cup, must rank as one of the greatest individual performances in the history of Irish sport."

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