In today's world, news by sound bite is the order of the day. There is a danger of Ireland's 2011 World Cup cricket campaign being reduced to 'the day we beat England at their own game.' Not that there is anything particularly wrong with that of course - most Irish people will take that any day of the week. But Ireland's 2011 World Cup campaign was about a lot more than that.
Who has scored the fastest century in the history of the World Cup? Who is the youngest player to score a World Cup century? The answer to these questions is not Viv Richards, Adam Gilchrist, Gordon Greenidge, Imran Khan, Ian Botham, Richard Hadlee, Desmond Haynes, Ricky Ponting or Sachin Tendulkar. The answer is Kevin O'Brien (Railway Union CC and Ireland) and Paul Stirling (Cliftonville CC and Ireland) respectively.
Ireland also holds the record for the highest run chase in the history of the World Cup - successfully chasing down England's total of 327 in Bangalore.
That's why a book such as 'Six After Six' is important. It chronicles Kevin O'Brien's journey from cricket-mad childhood in Sandymount, Dublin to the 2011 World Cup with Ireland's 2011 World Cup campaign the centre-piece. It allows the reader to reflect on the enormity of the achievements of the Ireland team in the 2011 World Cup.
Perhaps as significant as those momentous achievements is the disappointment felt by the team at not being able to progress to the next stages. Though Ireland won two matches at the group stages, the team felt it should also have beaten Bangladesh and could have beaten the West Indies. This is a team with high ambitions.
Written at a lively pace 'Six by Six' is a thoroughly enjoyable read with lots of interesting insights into the life of a professional cricketer. Perhaps not surprisingly however, since all the main characters are still playing, some of the more controversial incidents are skirted around. The defeat to Bangladesh is attributed to the ball being changed and no mention is made of the persistence with Boyd Rankin who was clearly having a nightmare (9 -0-62-0) while other bowlers had overs to spare (Dockrell 9-2-23-2, Botha 9-1-32-3, Mooney 7-0-25-1).
Still 'Six After Six' is a very good book - one of the best of its ilk. 112 pages long plus scorecards and stats and liberally sprinkled with photos it is well worth the price of €12.99.
'Six After Six's lasting value however may be to serve as a fitting tribute to one of Ireland's greatest sporting days and another reminder of cricket's shameful and scandalous two-tier international structure which is undermining its credibility as a an international sport.
'Six After Six' is a must read for all Ireland cricket supporters and those who support the development of cricket as a global sport.
'Six After Six' is written by Kevin O'Brien with Ger Siggins and is published by Bricklands Press.
Ger Siggins has also written the following books on cricket:
'Raiders of the Caribbean' a collaboration with Trent Johnston on the 2007 World Cup campaign
'Ireland's 100 Cricket Greats' (with James Fitzgerald)
'Green Days: Cricket in Ireland 1792-2005'