03 February 2015
Brothers in Arms – Ireland’s Kevin & Niall O’Brien
Ireland may have only played at two Cricket World Cups but they already have two different sets of brother to have played together on the World’s biggest stage
The O’Briens are one of the most talented sporting families in Ireland.
The O’Brien brothers: Niall (2007, 2011) and Kevin (2007, 2011)
The O’Briens are surely one of the most talented sporting families in Ireland.
In addition to World Cup representatives Niall and Kevin, father Brendan also played cricket for Ireland, while sister Ciara played under-19 and under-23 cricket for Ireland and represented the country in field hockey. Niall and Kevin stepped on to cricket’s biggest stage when the Associate nation qualified for the 2007 tournament.
It was Ireland’s first appearance at the World Cup and the O’Brien brothers played their role in ensuring it was a memorable one, as Ireland upset Pakistan and tied with Zimbabwe on their way to qualifying for the tournament’s Super 8s stage.
Wicketkeeper Niall played nine matches at that tournament with his best performance coming in the famous win over Pakistan when he scored 72 leading Ireland to their shock St. Patrick’s Day win, while he also hit 63 against England.
Younger brother Kevin made eight appearances, including a high score of 49 against New Zealand and best figures of 4-71 with the ball against West Indies, including the prize wickets of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo.
The O’Briens returned for the 2011 tournament, where they both played all six matches for Ireland.
Kevin famously smashed the fastest World Cup hundred in history to lead Ireland to victory over England, scoring 113 from 63 balls, while Niall’s best knock of the tournament came against Netherlands where he scored an unbeaten fifty.
The Mooney brothers: John (2007, 2011) and Paul (2007)
Ireland’s first-ever World Cup squad featured two sets of brothers– the O’Briens and the Mooneys.
John and Paul Mooney did not have a chance to play in the same match during the 2007 tournament, with Paul’s sole appearance coming against South Africa, while John made two appearances.
John returned for the 2011 World Cup and was one of the key performers in Ireland’s shock three-wicket win over England.
Kevin O’Brien’s record-breaking century may have overshadowed the all-rounder’s own performance, but John Mooney’s 4-63 included the important wickets of Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood. He then chipped in with an unbeaten 33 to see Ireland over the line for its most famous victory.
Paul has now retired from international cricket but lives in New Zealand so may get to join the ‘Blarney Army’ in Ireland’s games in New Zealand. They play West Indies at Nelson on the 16th of February before coming up against World Champions India in Hamilton in March.
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