29 April 2013

James Shannon will once again skipper Ireland A when they get their season under way against the MCC at Stormont in a three-day game from May 8-10 (11am start).

The 23 year old Instonians batsman led the team last year with great distinction, which included a record breaking run chase of 414 against Gloucestershire Seconds, and a convincing victory over their Scottish counterparts.

There is a return to the Irish set-up for Gary Kidd, who won the last of his 22 senior caps in 2010. The 27 year old left-arm spinner is one of three Waringstown players in the squad, alongside Lee Nelson and the recently joined Phil Eaglestone.

Another player making a comeback is Malahide wicket-keeper batsman Fintan McAllister, who missed last season due to a sabbatical in Australia. The 26 year old won the last of his six senior caps back in 2009. He gets his opportunity due to the unavailability of Stuart Poynter with MCCYC and Rory McCann, who is teaching in Scotland.

Andrew McBrine makes his first appearance in an Ireland A squad. The left-hand top order batsman and right-arm spinner was one of the success stories of the Ireland Under 19 side in recent years. His father Junior McBrine won 35 caps for Ireland between 1985 and 1994.

Ireland coach Phil Simmons said of the squad composition: "We're missing several players who have work and university playing commitments, so we've taken the opportunity to get a fresh look at a few players who maybe haven't figured for a few seasons. Andrew McBrine deserves his chance after strong performances with the Under 19's. This a chance for the guys to impress me ahead of the ODI's against Pakistan next month. There's always a place or two up for grabs and this time is no different."

There are a few familiar names in the opposition line-up with Clontarf bowler Joe Morrissey, Irish international Reinhardt Strydom and former Civil Service North wicket-keeper Rob Arthur. Ex Scotland captain Ryan Watson is also included as well as top order batsman Clinton Perren, who played first-class cricket for Queensland over a ten year period.

Ireland A v MCC; May 8-10 at Stormont, 11am start.

The squad in full is as follows:
James Shannon (captain) (Instonians), Ben Ackland (Merrion), John Anderson (Merrion), Chris Dougherty (CIYMS), Phil Eaglestone (Waringstown), Gary Kidd (Waringstown), Fintan McAllister (Malahide), Andrew McBrine (Donemana), Lee Nelson (Waringstown), Eddie Richardson (North County), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Stuart Thompson (Eglinton).

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