Belfast Telegraph

Robinson praises cricket heroes

Northern Ireland's political leaders have congratulated the Irish cricket team after they beat England in a World Cup match.

First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness added their congratulations after big-hitting batsman Kevin O'Brien helped the team to victory by contributing 113 runs.

It was the fastest 100 in the competition's history and helped Ireland beat an Ashes-winning England side captained by Andrew Strauss by three wickets. It finished with Ireland on 327 for eight.

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."

Mr McGuinness said: "There are few who would have thought it possible that Ireland could have improved on their achievements at the last world cup. However, this victory surely represents the pinnacle of Irish cricketing achievement, even surpassing their great victory over Pakistan four years ago.

"I would both like to congratulate the whole team and all involved with Cricket Ireland. I hope that this victory will lead to further success in the tournament."

Dubliner 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.

Stormont sports minister Nelson McCausland said: "This is a historic win for the Ireland team. To defeat an England side packed with household names, and fresh from victory in the Ashes, is a truly remarkable achievement.

"While Ireland may have been the underdogs, they showed skill, courage and sportsmanship to beat one of the world's cricketing superpowers. It was a superb team effort but praise must go to Kevin O'Brien for a magnificent century which will no doubt go down in history."

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