Mooney inspires Ireland to Intercontinental Cup Triumph
December 13th 2013 by Cricket Ireland | International
An inspired display of new ball bowling from John Mooney who finished with the amazing match figures of 10 for 81 has led Ireland to a fourth Intercontinental Cup trophy and an amazing treble of trophies in 2013.
Ireland duly collected the Intercontinental Cup for the fourth time on Friday afternoon as Trent Johnston’s career in the green shirt came to a fitting end with a 122 run victory over Afghanistan in Dubai.
While all eyes were on the YMCA man going into the game, an achilles injury meant he was forced to watch from the sidelines on the final day. However it was to be his Leinster Lightning team-mate John Mooney who grabbed the headlines- Mooney proving his worth to William Porterfield by claiming five second innings wickets, giving him ten in the match.
Ireland’s decisive second innings display meant that the Afghans needed an unlikely 347 to snatch the trophy away and at 136 for 5 overnight it looked a forlorn hope. The not out batsmen, Rahmat Shah and Mohammad Nabi didn’t see it that way mind and on the restart this morning they gave Ireland plenty to think about.
Time wasn’t an issue with two full days to play and both men made the bowlers work hard in the opening exchanges. Worryingly for Porterfield the pair batted relatively untroubled through the morning session and into the afternoon taking Afghanistan’s reply to 199, with a partnership worth 114.
However the new ball proved decisive, and their attritional resistance was ended when Max Sorensen took the new ball and trapped Nabi leg before for a very patient 49 (7 fours, 174 balls).
After that you sensed the end was nigh and despite Shah’s individual defiance, Phil Simmons’ charges moved in for the kill. The Afghanistan batsman was left stranded on 86 not out (12 fours) as Mooney returned to the attack to rip out the last four wickets for the addition of 25 runs.
The final margin of victory was 122 runs and while this was very much a team effort over the four days, few would begrudge Mooney the plaudits he deserved. The North County all-rounder has struggled to find his best form at times this year and endured a frustrating 18 months with injuries, but his commitment to Ireland’s cause has never been in doubt and his efforts here made the man-of-the-match decision a straightforward one.
Fittingly however the last word was left to Johnston as skipper Porterfield stepped aside to let his colleague pick up the trophy, and his fourth winners medal in this competition. If ever a man has epitomised the efforts required at this level it is Trent and although it has been said many times before, these really will be huge boots to fill.
A magnificent year for Irish cricket coming to an end in style with another tournament success to complete a historic treble, and an equally magnificent end to a glittering career as ‘TJ’ signed off as he spent most of his career, as a winner.
You can see the scorecard in full by clicking here.
Lovely Christmas present!! pic.twitter.com/nuryfxRyuB— George Dockrell (@georgedockrell) December 13, 2013