2 March 2007

The Irish Cricket Team, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, enjoyed a pre-departure reception in Belfast, as they prepared for their first ever World Cup tournament.


Irish Team

The Irish cricket team’s sponsor, Bank of Ireland, wished the squad every success in their games.  Speaking at a reception to mark the team’s departure to the World Cup, Stephen Kirkpatrick, Head of Banking, Bank of Ireland Northern Ireland, said: We are delighted to be associated with Irish cricket on such a historic occasion.  Cricket in Ireland has made huge progress over the last number of years and we hope the team’s participation in its first World Cup will bring even greater exposure to the game.  We will be following the team’s progress closely throughout the event.

The Irish Cricket Team coach, Adrian Birrell, Captain Trent Johnston and CEO Warren Deutrom, also give their thoughts on the most exciting period in Irish cricket history to date.

Speaking at the reception hosted by Bank of Ireland, Adrian Birrell said,

There’s a lot of work to be done as we prepare to play in the World Cup for the first time in our history.  There’s a huge challenge for us out there, and of course an opportunity to put Irish cricket even more firmly on the map.  I’m confident that we’ll play good cricket in each of the games, and if we bring our A game with us, then who knows what might happen?  We have been preparing both mentally and physically for the World Cup for a long time, and the attitude and commitment of the entire squad has been exemplary.

We’ve played big names before, and taken a few notable scalps along the way. I’m backing my team to do well, and hopefully we’ll produce some notable performances.

The Irish Cricket Team Captain, Trent Johnston said, It’s a wonderful opportunity for the team, and a great boost for Irish cricket. The interest being shown by the cricketing public in the country has been fantastic, and I know how much the players are enjoying the increased media attention, which the game so badly needs in Ireland.

It’s been a huge bonus for us to be full time cricketers for these 3 months, and the vital sponsorship that Bank of Ireland has given us means that we have been able to focus ourselves solely on cricket and the World Cup preparation.

It’s a magnificent thought to be competing against the modern greats in World Cricket.  We’ll be pitting our wits against Brian Lara, Chris Gayle, Mohammed Yousuf, Shoaib Akhtar, and Inzaman-Ul-Haq, in the group games, and also get a chance to play against Shaun Pollock, Makaya Ntini and Jacques Kallis in the warm up game against South Africa.

Irish Cricket CEO, Warren Deutrom, added, Everyone involved in Irish Cricket is excited about the team participating in the World Cup.  It is the pinnacle of any sportsman's ambition to represent their country on the world stage, and we are certain that the squad will rise to the occasion. This is the first time that Ireland has participated at this level, and we are excited by the opportunities it will afford the team to move forward in terms of skill, and the Union to move forward in terms of business and profile. We don't see the World Cup as the end of a road, instead we see it as a springboard to future success.

Stephen Kirkpatrick (Bank of Ireland), Kyle McCallan, Andrew White and Warren Deutrom (ICU CEO)

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