ACT News

'Only the luck of the Irish will save them': Tough talk before World Cup showdown at Manuka Oval

Canberra's Irish community will be hoping for the luck of their compatriots when their cricket team takes on the South Africans at Manuka Oval on Tuesday afternoon.

Cricket Ireland's performance director, Richard Holdsworth, said his team was in good spirits and would be confident and competitive against the Proteas no matter what the odds.

Latief Mazema (left),of Jerrabomberra, and Shay Livingstone, of Ireland, will be at Manuka Oval in Canberra to see ...
Latief Mazema (left),of Jerrabomberra, and Shay Livingstone, of Ireland, will be at Manuka Oval in Canberra to see Ireland take on South Africa in the ICC World Cup cricket match. Photo: Melissa Adams

"I think there is an element of that fighting spirit in all Irish sporting teams as we don't lie down easily, we fight to the very end," he said.

"We have the ability to go up against the top teams, but perhaps not the depth that they have."

Often considered the minnows of world cricket, the Irish team surprised many by clinching a four-wicket victory over the West Indies in New Zealand two weeks ago.

"We are confident going into every game because it's the World Cup and if you're not then you probably shouldn't be in it," Mr Holdsworth said.


Ireland's ambassador to Australia, Noel White, shared Mr Holdsworth's optimism.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world and I will be there in a personal and professional capacity. You've just got to savour these moments," he said.

"It's about sport fundamentally but it is also about community and I'm particularly pleased that Canberra has featured so prominently in the World Cup so far."

Mr White said Manuka Oval was a "marvellous boutique ground" and Canberrans should be very proud of it.

But many South Africans like Latief Mazema believe the Irish will be no match for the batting prowess of AB de Villiers and his team.

"I'm confident that South Africa will win as they deserve the accolade and Irish are just one obstacle on the way," he said.

"Only the luck of the Irish will save them."

Shay Livingstone, a publican from Galway who has travelled with the Irish team as their official "super-fan", said people should think twice about discounting the Irish.

"Don't forget that David did slay Goliath so why can't that happen again now?" he said.

"I guarantee that we won't be backing away from Goliath as the boys play with guts and never-say-never.

"That's typical of the Irish mentality as we love being the underdog."

Ambassador White, who has been following the World Cup closely, played host to the national team on the weekend and welcomed them to Canberra.

"We had a little event for them on Saturday which was low-key and relaxing with a number of friends," he said.

"It's great to have them in Australia and I'm delighted they are in the World Cup and the fixture has seen them come to Canberra."

A Cricket ACT spokesman said there were still plenty of tickets available for the match and encouraged people to sample the last chance of World Cup cricket in Canberra.