Howzat! Family's delight as Holywood cricketer Mark runs riot at Lord's
The family of Ireland cricketer Mark Adair were on cloud nine yesterday after he used his debut Test appearance to help embarrass England at Lord's.
The 23-year-old seamer from Holywood took three wickets for 32 for Ireland as they bowled out England for 85.
By chance, his parents Ricky and Joanne had already secured tickets for the match long before they knew their son had any chance of being picked for the national team.
Proud father Ricky revealed how watching his son help bowl out England brought a tear to his eye.
The occasion was especially sweet after watching his son's early career at Warwickshire plagued by back injuries.
"It's hard to believe, it's been a heck of a journey for him. I wouldn't be lying to say it brought a bit of a tear to my eye when I saw him walk out on that pitch this morning," he said.
"What young man wouldn't want to play a Lord's Test against England? It's surreal, absolutely surreal.
"To be part of an Irish Test team in front of a massive crowd against England is something you dream about. As parents his mother and I are living that dream."
Adair opened his Test career by trapping Joe Denly lbw and ended the innings by bowling Olly Stone. He also settled an old score against captain Joe Root by trapping him leg before after he had had the England captain dropped in a previous match.
"He played against Joe a couple of years ago in a one-day match and he had a catch put down," said Ricky.
"We talked about it at the time - 'I could have had him' - so I'm delighted that he got him out today."
Big brother Ross (25) was watching the action at home with twin sister Caitlin.
"It was pretty massive," he said. "I just can't believe what happened, this morning was just ridiculous. It's probably a lot easier when you have people like Tim Murtagh at the other end who is tying people up.
"Mark then just does what he does. It's been a massive effort by everyone involved."
He added: "To even play a Test match at Lords, which I didn't think was going to happen for a long time, and to watch my brother playing in it is amazing.
"I'm thinking today about just how far he's come in 12 months. He was playing Section One cricket in the NCU (Northern Cricket Union) with me in Holywood and now he's opening the bowling for Ireland in a Test match.
"He did have his back problems, but he used last year to get fit and have his bowling to where it was before."
Ross said his younger brother has already shown himself "invaluable" to the Ireland team.
"I'm a massively proud big brother, as are the whole family; hopefully the success continues and he keeps his head down and keeps working hard.
"We were going absolutely crazy in the house this morning. I'm sure Lord's was buzzing, to say the least."
Asked what makes his brother tick as a player, he said self-belief was never a problem in the early days.
"I'd say he takes things in his stride, not too uptight. He's a confident guy, as a 13-year-old player he had the confidence of a full-grown man.
"I remember him playing a game for Holywood, bowling against a much older player.
"He just beat the bat and Mark walked up to the batsman and said 'the ball's in the wicketkeeper's hands if you're looking for it'.
"He had that kind of arrogance and swagger, but that's definitely worn off now and he's matured with experience.
"So I think he just needs to keep his head down and there'll be plenty more to come."
Fellow player Boyd Rankin (35) from Bready in Co Londonderry also enjoyed a stellar day at Lord's, taking two wickets.
An unusual path to success for the 6ft 7ins bowler saw him briefly switch sides to play for England in 2012.
Tim Murtagh made history as the first Irish bowler to take five wickets during a Test match.
London-born Murtagh (37) represented England under-19s before playing at senior level for Ireland.
"It's just a dream to perform like that and to have my name up there on the honours board," he told Sky Sports.
"I should know how to bowl on this ground, that was key, to get it up there and let the pitch do a little bit of work."