For a country that boasts of a little over 4 million in population, Ireland undoubtedly packs a punch when it comes to sports. The small-but-proud nation has given the sporting world many stars including the likes of Conor McGregor in UFC, Rory McIlroy in golf and Roy Keane in football.
While the nation has established itself in many sports, Ireland is also taking huge strides in international cricket. Their women's cricket team is currently slugging it out in the ICC World T20 in West Indies. But, things haven't been going the way Irish fans would have expected.
Plying their trade in Group B, the Irish side was massacred by Australia in their opening game, where they suffered a massive nine-wicket loss. Eager to bounce back in the tournament, Ireland, then, ran into Pakistan in their second match. A three-wicket haul by Lucy O'Reilly restricted Javeria Khan-led team to 139 runs, allowing the Irish fans to dream on for a win. But a mediocre batting performance eventually spelt the doom for Ireland.
In a game that Ireland probably fancied winning, Pakistan held their nerve to notch up a 38-run win. Clearly, the Irish cricketers and their fans were left disappointed - something that was in full display during the post-match press conference.
Talking to the reporters after the game, Ireland skipper Laura Delany broke down in tears while expressing her frustration over their dismal batting show. "If we were professional I wonder what the score would have been out there today to lose the match by 40 runs," the 25-year-old said.
"If we were professional I wonder what the score would have been out there."@IrishWomensCric's captain Laura Delany was understandably quite emotional after her team's loss to Pakistan.
“I think 120-130 would be par on this wicket, unfortunately, we didn't have enough partnerships in the middle and that cost us the game,” the Ireland captain added. A brief video of her media interaction was shared by the official Twitter handle of the ICC World T20 and it was great to see the cricket fraternity and fans across the globe consoling the teary-eyed cricketer.
Should be proud of what you guys achieve. Punch well above your weight constantly!— Alyssa Healy (@ahealy77) November 14, 2018
Let me reciprocate the beautiful gesture. We in Pakistan saw the match & as we cheered for our team we also commend your efforts.
Already enough has been lodged onto a woman's life in today's world. We wish more strength, humbleness and gratitude to you all.#WT20
This is what sucks about a majority of women's sports. There is a HUGE disparity between funding/sponsors from country to country, so it really is elite/professional vs amateur. Keep fighting the good fight ðªð¼— Georgie Parker (@georgieparker) November 14, 2018
Not all defeats are a loss! You ladies were sensational to watch and you should be proud of yourselves. Don't question your professionalism, you already have it! You truly will be an inspiration to girls of Ireland. Hold your heads up high and keep going :)— Lady Owl (@house_owl) November 14, 2018
Good to see her show such emotion, it shows how much Laura cares and what it means to her and the team, I hope they get the funding they need to become full time pro's, they deserve to compete on equal terms to the other teams.— JC (@jscblarblar) November 14, 2018
They have match Day tomorrow against India Plz Be strong Lady we are already proud of Each one of U Every single woman Participating in this world No matter which country they are from Nd We Love Ur Passion Hard Luck— Syed Rizvi (@SyedRiz46367215) November 14, 2018
Well said @lauradel14 . There definitely needs to be investment by @ICC and all country governing bodies to make women's cricket a fully professional sport.
There was some very talented players on display last night that would massively benefit from the sport being professional.
@lauradel14 take pride in what you've achieved against the odds. Your dedication alone to the sport is second to none and that win is only around the corner. You have to continue to believe in yourselves - we believe in you. #Believe ðð— Mary B (@owensyb) November 14, 2018
More strength to you girls! Indeed disappointing to lose, but should be proud of the improvements in the performance!— Varun (@varunsachi) November 14, 2018
@IrishWomensCric every tiny step is a milestone in itself when we're starting a long journey. You're already an inspiration to a whole generation.
Winning and losing is part of the whole process and not the end.
Chin up y'all, you have a long way to go.
All the best ðð¼
Watching all the women's teams is really great. I think that the women's game has added a lot the cricket over the years. In recent times you're getting girls into the game at a younger age. You should all be proud and keep going until you reach the pro status you deserve ð— damien venditti (@damienvenditti) November 14, 2018
We all r so proud of you girls ð¤ the way you guys improved and show all of us ur character. It's really unbelievable ð and @ahealy77 is absolutely right that you should be proud of yourself. We all Cricket lovers r with you.. lottttttsssss of love!!— ANKITA (@_moonchild27) November 14, 2018
You girls have done your country proud! It's just the beginning, work harder and you will surely be doing well in the coming tournaments.— tejas (@tejarane) November 14, 2018