Low point in Ireland's fairytale
Barbados - Paul Davey set out to make a documentary charting Ireland’s experiences at the World Cup and it has turned into an epic. What could have been a two-week stay in Jamaica is now entering its fifth week.
The Irish amateur filmmaker is putting together a narrative covering the team’s fairytale tournament. There have been highs, like the victory over Pakistan on St Patrick’s Day.
And there have been lows, like being bowled out by Australia for the lowest total ever at the Kensington Oval in a match that was over by lunchtime.
Any disappointment Paul and Ireland’s band of supporters felt on Friday was tempered by the knowledge the side had already far exceeded pre-tournament predictions.
“Beating Pakistan was the high point. We were there with zero expectations – just there for the party,” says Paul. “And the tie against Zimbabwe was fantastic as well, although it has been forgotten with everything that’s followed it.”
Paul’s own story is the best place to start the tale. While running near his current home in Sydney he came across an Irish cricketer coaching Australian youngsters. It turned out to be wicket-keeper Niall O'Brien.
“I came up with the idea of a documentary, approached the Irish Cricket Union and they have been fantastic,” he says. “I’ve been allowed to go anywhere to film.”
He stops short at trying to interview captain Trent Johnston from behind his cap and sunglasses on the morning of a match, though. That might require extra danger money.
Cash looked like it could be a problem when Ireland made it to the Super 8. In fact, on the morning the team was due to move to Guyana, Paul didn’t have the cash for the flight.
However, telecoms multi-millionaire Denis O’Brien, who also gave a reported £100,000 to the players as a reward for reaching the second round, stepped in to fund flights and accommodation to make sure the project is completed.
Along the way there have been some outstanding tales, and they keep coming.
Adrian Rafferty, the 6ft leprechaun who led the Irish conga at Sabina Park, is now back home in Australia and reports that he has built a party stand in his house. At 4am on Friday night he and a neighbour were dancing the conga around his living room.
Paul is proud of the footage he shot of burly Ireland team manager Roy Torrens’ desperate, and ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to fish a practice ball out of a roadside storm drain in Georgetown, using a borrowed net and pole.
More poignantly, opening bowler David Langford-Smith, who has a speech impediment, overcame nervousness about being interviewed because he felt he could prove to any Irish child in a similar situation that it is no barrier to achievement.
Paul hopes to have the project finished in the next three months, including some interviews with players once they are back at home, looking back on an amazing experience.
Meanwhile he had his camera in the post-match news conference, which began at the time the second innings was supposed to.
Ireland skipper Johnston refused to be downbeat, joking that he still hadn’t seen the four 90mph deliveries he faced from Shaun Tait.
Coach Adrian Birrell did admit, though, that there has been some mental “bruising” inflicted with successive defeats to New Zealand and now Australia, which he hopes won’t have an effect on the side ahead of Sunday’s seventh-place decider against Bangladesh.
Australia captain Ricky Ponting was glowing in his appreciation of what Ireland have achieved so far but tried his best not to be drawn on whether they should be at this stage of the competition.
Whatever the arguments, the last month has been a great story, and it is not finished yet.