Irish team receive a heroes welcome


Cricket: The Ireland cricket team arrived back in Dublin today after a highly  successful World Cup campaign which saw Adrian Birrel's team qualify for the Super Eight phase and therefore gain one-day international status.

It was an unexpected six-week adventure in the Caribbean for Ireland, who were never expected to advance to the latter stages of the competition. However, an opening draw against Zimbabwe, followed by the now infamous win over Pakistan before the death of their coach Bob Woolmer, was good enough for Ireland to progress from their group into the last eight.

Making their World Cup debut, Ireland were never going to be a match for the game's elite sides but, that said, they managed a second win against Bangladesh in the Super Eight round-robin stage and they rose to 10th in the world cricket rankings.

When the team touched down at Dublin Airport this afternoon, coach Birrel, captain Trent Johnson and the rest of the team were met by John O'Donoghue, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism and the large number of supporters who had gathered to welcome their heroes home.

The tournament, which has been largely overshadowed by Woolmer's death, is now nearing its conclusion. Sri Lanka are currently batting against New Zealand in the first semi-final in Jamaica while favourites Australia take on South Africa in St Lucia tomorrow.

The final will take place this Saturday.