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Hero Kevin's birthday bash provides some 'inspiration'

IRELAND'S cricketers are now focusing on the mighty Indians -- after celebrating hero Kevin O'Brien's birthday.

Batsman O'Brien turned 27 yesterday, still sporting the blonde and pink hairstyle which has made him instantly recognisable in the cricket-playing countries of the world.

Last night The Pride hotel, where Kevin's parents Brendan and Camilla are staying, invited the entire family to enjoy a celebratory meal on the house to mark his birthday.

The celebration was low-key as O'Brien and co prepare for the daunting task of beating India on home soil.

Earlier in the day, the burly batsman and his team-mates gathered for a party complete with cake, party hats and streamers and received a special motivational gift from his brother, Niall, ahead of tomorrow's mammoth task. He received a wall clock with the slogan 'Attitude is Everything' in the clock face.

Thanks, in large part, to Kevin O'Brien's stunning century, the Irish have gained new-found respect in cricket circles for their defeat of the English and all eyes will be on the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore to see if they can repeat the feat.

The travelling contingent of 250 Irish fans will be drowned out by over 50,000 screaming Indian fans when the countries face off.

As the O'Brien brothers made their way through Bangalore's streets to their parent's hotel for dinner last night, they probably passed one of the giant advertising hoardings featuring the nation's cricketers. Niall has already admitted they wouldn't mind a piece of that fame themselves.

"It would be nice to get me and my brother up there, two very good-looking men," he said.

Ireland will go into the game more in hope than expectation but if they are to be beaten they must limit the margin of defeat if they are to be realistic contenders for a quarter-final spot.

John Mooney, the largely unsung hero of Wednesday night with his four wickets and winning runs, said they will approach the game like any other.

"Nothing has changed. We go out on the field with the attitude that we are trying to win. We had that attitude against Bangladesh -- and unfortunately it didn't happen for us -- we were the same against England and we'll be the same against India," he said.

The opening innings will commence at 9am tomorrow morning (Irish time).

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