unforgettable clash in the World Cup, and while that victory did wonders for Ireland's progress to a Full Member, the question was how well they could sustain that momentum.
They got off to a good start, winning the toss and putting England in to bat under cloudy skies. Jonathan Trott hit England's first boundary in the third over, but John Mooney and Boyd Rankin kept him and Craig Kieswetter quiet, until the England wicketkeeper belted a 6 and a 4 before being caught behind off Mooney. A good start for Ireland, with England 24/1, and new batsman James Taylor making his debut. He didn't do much, making just 1 before getting out, and it was Jonathan Trott who was standing steady for England after 10 overs at 34/2.
Taylor's wicket brought Eoin Morgan out to face his old teammates, but his credentials as a batsman/captain were delayed as the rains came down. When play started again an hour later, the innings was reduced to 42 overs for time lost. Resuming, Morgan was into action quickly, taking three boundaries and overtaking Trott, as the two experienced batsmen saw England through Ireland's brief position of ascendancy. In tandem, the two took England past 100, with Morgan reaching his half-century with a 6 and 4. Trott got to his milestone in slightly more sedate fashion, but it was after the 100 partnership came up that Ireland finally managed a breakthrough, Paul Stirling acrobatically catching Morgan off his own bowling to send the England captain back for a typically energizing 59 off 65. Ravi Bopara didn't last long, and England were suddenly 139/4 after the relative comfort of 136/2.
Stirling struck again to remove England's second debutante, James Stokes, and at 148/5, Ireland were truly on top of the game. Samit Patel struck two consecutive boundaries, but then he was gone to make it 165/6. Trott's dogged resistance came to an end at 69, and at 171/7, Ireland should have wrapped it up, but Chris Woakes and Scott Borthwick - another debutante - biffed quick runs to finish the England innings at a relatively weak 201/8.
Ireland's chase was delayed by more rain, but Ed Joyce got things moving against his own former teammates with a boundary in the first over. Paul Stirling hit his first (legal) delivery for 6, but was undone by his aggressiveness against Steven Finn, and Ireland lost their first wicket for 12. Ed Joyce went shortly after (24/2). William Porterfield and Niall O'Brien kept Ireland moving until the rain returned, this time forcing the innings to be shortened to 23 overs, setting the Irish a target of 129.
Porterfield was run out almost immediately upon resumption, but Ireland's hero Kevin O'Brien struck two 6s off Scott Borthwick to keep the home team in the hunt. Niall O'Brien and Nigel Jones departed in quick succession to put England back in front, with Ireland losing time and wickets. Big Kev hit another boundary before Jade Dernbach sent down a 90 mph yorker that cleaned him up. John Mooney and Gary Wilson kept things going with boundaries, but there was to be no repeat of the Bangalore heroics, as Ireland finished at 117/8, 11 tantalizing runs short of victory.
Disappointing from both teams. England's three debutantes failed to make an impact with the bat, and despite Ireland bowling very well to limit England to 201/8 in their 42 overs, they couldn't get the other half of the job done. It's not the kind of statement they wanted to make as they build their credentials for Full Member status, but the good bowling performance will hopefully make a few people take notice.
Still, credit to England for a scrappy victory, and credit to Ireland for putting up more fight in one game than India managed in four Tests.
England: 201/8 (Jonathan Trott 69, John Mooney 7-1-32-3) in 42 overs, at 4.78 runs per over
Ireland (target 129 runs from 23 overs): 117/8 (Kevin O'Brien 26, Jade Dernbach 5-0-30-3) in 23 overs, at 5.08 runs per over