My mum loved cricket. In the summers prior to her passing we would watch the test matches together on the Tele. In particular, I remember watching the Blackwash, the 5-0 drubbing the West Indies gave England in 1984.
From that summer on I have supported England, on TV, radio and live. I’ve watched them at Lord’s, Trent Bridge, Headingly and The Oval. Why England? Because Ireland didn’t have a cricket team.
In the summer of 2007 that changed when an Irish team qualified for the World Cup and, incredibly, beat Pakistan to reach the Quarter Finals.
This caused me no dilemma of allegiance at all. The World Cup is the one day version of the game and I was a lover of the five day version which Ireland didn’t play. Until today.
At 11am they become the 11th country to join the elite club that play five day, or test match cricket.
Over the last ten years I have been to many sporting occasions from Ryder Cups to Stanley Cups, from FA Cup finals to a Rugby World Cup Final. But today surpasses them all.
Today my cricketing allegiance returns home. Does this cause me a dilemma? Not at all. In most sports, like most Irish, people, I support two teams: Ireland and anyone playing England.