THE BEAUTY of sport is the way it can stir just about every emotion – and today has been another corker.
It was a story of David crushing Goliath as Ireland amazingly humbled England in the latest sensational Cricket World Cup drama.
Celtic conquered their Old Firm rivals Rangers 1-0 in a battle of breath-taking intensity at Parkhead, as the beaten Gerrs ended the evening with eight men to crash out of the Scottish Cup.
South of the border there was FA Cup drama as Arsenal finally saw off Leyton Orient 5-0 to claim a quarter-final showdown with Manchester United at Old Trafford.
And mega rich City kept alive the possibilty of meeting their Mancunian rivals United in the Final when they despatched Aston Villa 3-0 to set up a meeting with Reading in the last eight.
But this was a day that belonged to the Irish.
The undisputed hero was Dubliner Kevin O’Brien who blazed the fastest century in Cricket World Cup history as Ireland pulled off an astonishing victory in Bangalore. O’Brien smashed 113 off 63 balls as Ireland recovered from 111-5 to overhaul their target of 328 with five balls to spare and three wickets in hand.
Earlier, fifties from Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell had driven England to an imposing 327-8. But O’Brien’s stunning assault powered minnows Ireland to triumph that ranks alongside any of this sport’s great upsets.
Just three days after England’s unbelievable tie with India, Bangalore’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium played host to another of one-day cricket’s most dramatic encounters. All-rounder O’Brien, 26, yet to make a 50 in nine previous World Cup innings, turned the match on its head with a brutal display of hitting.
He hit 13 fours and six sixes and shared a partnership of 162 with Alex Cusack. Dropped on 91 by England captain Andrew Strauss, he went on to reach his century off 50 balls.It was a staggering achievement – 16 balls fewer than the previous tournament record set by former Australia opener Matthew Hayden.
O’Brien was run out in the penultimate over. But John Mooney smashed the first ball of the last over for four to spark delirious celebrations in the Ireland camp.
RANGERS LOSE CONTROL: THREE SENT OFF IN CUP SHAME AT PARKHEAD
Meanwhile, back in Scotland Celtic’s win keeps the Bhoys on course for the domestic treble after Mark Wilson’s goal saw off Rangers to claim a quarter-final trip to Inverness.
Steven Whittaker was sent off by referee Calum Murray in the 35th minute after picking up his second booking for a foul on Emilio Izaguirre and Celtic made injury-hit Rangers suffer when Wilson drove in three minutes after the break.
The intensity finally boiled over in injury time when Madjid Bougherra collected his second yellow to leave Rangers with nine men. And it got worse for the losers after the final whistle when the two benches clashed and El-Hadji Diouf, already on a yellow, was also dismissed.