Belfast Telegraph

Ireland's defeated cricket rivals England join in fun as team lets off steam

Ireland's cricket heroes celebrated into the early hours of the morning yesterday in the wake of their sensational victory over England at the World Cup in India.

The luxury five-star Royal Gardenia Hotel in Bangalore erupted in wild scenes on Wednesday night as the players celebrated the historic victory over the 'auld enemy' -- with some of the English players even joining in.

Dubliner Kevin O'Brien scored the fastest 100 in the competition's history, eventually reaching 113, to see Ireland edge out England at their own game by 329/7 to 327/8.

He is now tipped to land a big-money contract with the prestigious Indian Premier League (IPL) of cricket.

In recognition of Ireland's feat, hotel staff prepared a cake decorated with a large 113 to greet the players as they returned.

In a show of admiration, players from England who are also staying at the Royal Gardenia, including captain Andrew Strauss, joined their Irish opponents during the celebrations.

Even an 11pm bar curfew didn't stop the festivities as the hotel played host to an impromptu ceili, while "a few rupees" helped keep the party going until 6am.

Yesterday evening, President Mary McAleese phoned to offer her congratulations to Kevin, squad member Andrew White and manager Roy Torrens for the team's success.

"She was extremely gracious and friendly and I was struck at the level of detail she had about the team and their performances in the last World Cup," Mr Torrens said.

Team member Niall O'Brien, brother of record-breaking Kevin, told the Irish Independent: "We partied until the early hours. Obviously with a big win like that you have to blow off some steam.

"We had a day off today so the coach was good enough to let us celebrate the win."

He continued: "The hotel couldn't have been better, they put on a big reception. The atmosphere was great, the team and everybody who came to support the team celebrated together."

He said that, in typical Irish fashion, the night ended in song and dance.

"There was dancing at the end of the night and when that finished it continued on into the rooms," he said. "There were some calls by the locals to keep it down, but I think we deserved to celebrate."

He explained how the locals in India really got behind the Irish underdogs. "They were pulling on Irish jerseys and everything, it was great. But I doubt they'll support us when we play them this weekend."

O'Brien's brother Ger, who watched the match from Dublin, revealed how members of the English losing team joined the Irish celebrations.

"Some of the English players joined the Irish in the celebration. Matt Prior is one player who was there," he said.

Hailing his team's victory, manager Roy Torrens said that they had showed the world that "this is an Irish side that can play and match the best teams in the world".

He agreed the team deserved to celebrate. "It's wonderful what a few rupees can turn up and the party went on until 6 o'clock this morning," he added.

The victory came as cricket clubs across the country hoped the success would draw more young people to the game.

Ireland's next match is against India in Bangalore on Sunday.

Belfast Telegraph

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