Robot Wars host, Stargazing Live presenter and star of Mock the Week, comedian Dara Ó Briain has added cricket commentator to his ever-growing portfolio of professional accolades to launch the upcoming Royal London ODI Series between England and Ireland.
The first documented game between England and Ireland dates back to 1855, in which Ireland won by 107 runs. But May will mark a historic date in the cricket calendar as England and Ireland play their first ever ODI match on English soil.
In a two-match Royal London ODI Series, England and Ireland will lock horns at The Brightside Ground, Bristol, on the 5th of May with the teams meeting two days later at Lord’s Cricket Ground on the 7th May in what is set to be a historic series of all-action cricket and all-round entertainment.
Ó Briain took to the commentary booth at Lord’s Cricket Ground to provide a comedian’s interpretation on match footage from the last completed match between England and Ireland back in 2013.
Playing on the misconception that the Irish may not be as familiar with some of the cricketing subtleties, Ó Briain takes full advantage of his free rein on the microphone to give his tongue-in-cheek interpretation of the action, including a variety of big hits, fielding blunders and umpiring signals.
The archive match footage sees unbeaten centuries from Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara take England to a six-wicket win over Ireland in Dublin. For Ó Briain however, the match should have had a more poetic conclusion from an Irish perspective.
“Did you bring me here to show me Ireland losing?”
“I had a whole ‘Theresa May your boys took a hell of a beating’ speech planned, you can’t do that about Ireland. I am not sure ‘Graham Norton, Bono, Jedward, that fat bloke from Robot Wars your boys took a hell of beating’ works as well.”
After deliberation with the producer, Ó Briain succeeds in his quest to switch the match footage to Ireland’s three-wicket victory over the English at the 2011 Cricket World Cup – one of the biggest upsets in the history of the game.
“We so rarely get the opportunity to cheer for Ireland on an international sporting stage that the whole country will be 100% behind the boys in green,” said Ó Briain, who was born in Bray, County Wicklow.
“Being the most impressive fans possible has almost become a second favourite sport for the Irish. I remember at Euro 2016 where Irish people were replacing tyres on broken down vehicles, helping old ladies cross the street and singing lullabies on the Metro. It seemed as though uploading the most charming fan videos was more important than the results. Our reputation precedes us leading up to any sporting occasion. You’re not going to get lairy behaviour from Irish fans, just a lot of fun.”
As a self-proclaimed GAA fan and hurling fanatic, Ó Briain even found time to grace the hallowed Lord’s turf to showcase his hurling skills – and created a slapstick comedy moment involving a sliotar and an unwitting cricket photographer!
“I am not surprised that some of the big hitters in cricket have a background in hurling,” said Ó Briain, who once played hurling for his school, Coláiste Naomh Eoin, at Croke Park.
“For me, it’s not just because of the grip but more because you have the freedom to hit big in hurling without worrying about protecting a wicket. That’s what you’re taught learning the sport so it’s just a matter of changing the technique for cricket which many players have done to great effect.”
And what of Ireland’s chances of beating England at cricket?
“Oh we’ll hammer them. We will get 409 and they’ll get 12,” Ó Briain predicts.
“No to be fair I think it will be a pretty even series. I expect England to win the match at Bristol and then come to the second match at Lord’s slightly cocky. At the Home of Cricket, I think Ireland will post a huge score and then cleverly declare the game over.”
Tickets to watch England v Ireland at The Brightside Ground, Bristol (5th May 2017) and Lord’s Cricket Ground (7th May 2017) are available to purchase at www.gloscricket.co.uk/tickets/ and www.lords.org/ireland