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Magnificent Morgan rubs salt into Irish wounds

Dubliner Eoin Morgan scored 124 not out as he captained England to victory in today’s RSA Challenge in Malahide.

Morgan: superb for England.
Morgan: superb for England.

Updated 18.55

England (274/4, 43 overs) beat Ireland (269/7) by six wickets

EOIN MORGAN SPOILED the party as England rallied to deny Ireland’s cricketers another famous shock.

The Dubliner was the difference between the sides, leading from the front with a captain’s stand of 124 not out on a historic day in Malahide.

Batting partner Ravi Bopara added 101 of his own as England staved off an Irish upset and reeled in their target of 270 with six wickets to spare.

Together Morgan and Bopara scored 226, the highest-ever fifth wicket partnership in one-day international history.

Morgan’s star turn was a bitter pill to swallow in the first international match at the newly revamped “Fortress Malahide”.

A crowd of 9,000-plus set a new record for Irish cricket but those in attendance were left to wonder what might have been if Morgan and bowler Boyd Rankin, who took four wickets on his ODI debut, were still lining out in green.

Some supporters came armed with signs encouraging the ICC to grant Ireland Test-playing status before they lose any more of their young talent.

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Image: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

There were some boos as Morgan, who played club cricket with Malahide and internationally for Ireland before pursuing his Test ambitions across the water, walked to the wicket with England struggling on 25/3.

But that turned to applause as he scored his first one-day century since 2010 and finished with 124 off 106 balls, including 12 boundaries.

England were in desperate need of that stellar showing after Ireland captain William Porterfield set the stage for an exciting afternoon with a century of his own.

After losing the toss and going in to bat first Porterfield lasted almost three hours and marked his ton in style, firing a beautiful six off his former international team-mate Rankin.

Rankin eventually got his revenge and bowled out Porterfield for a total of 112 which included 14 fours to go with his milestone six.

Porterfield’s knock was the perfect recovery after a slow Irish start. Rankin took the early wickets of Paul Stirling (10) and Ed Joyce (1) to leave Ireland on 36/2 midway through the seventh over, and later caught John Mooney lbw for the seventh Irish wicket.

With England chasing 270 to win, Tim Murtagh’s bowling gave Ireland hope. He dismissed Luke Wright, James Taylor and Gary Ballance to leave the visitors on 48/4 before Morgan intervened to steal the show.

– Originally published 14.56

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