17 December 2007

The Irish Cricket Union announced this morning the squad of 15 which will play in the upcoming Under 19 World Cup in Malaysia

The team will be captained by Greg Thompson who will be playing in his 3rd World Cup, having previously taken part in Bangladesh in 2004, and Sri Lanka in 2006.
Ireland have been drawn in Group D, along with England, Bangladesh and Bermuda. The fixtures will take place around Kuala Lumpur, with Ireland opening their campaign against England on February 17th. The Irish came desperately close to beating England in the last competition, losing by just 4 runs, with ironically Thompson being the player dismissed off the final ball of the game.
The team then face Bangladesh on the 20th, where they will they will be hoping to emulate their Senior colleagues, who convincingly beat Bangladesh in Barbados during the Super 8 phase of the World Cup. The Group stage concludes the following day, February 21st, with a fixture against fellow Associate qualifier Bermuda.
The team will have at least two warm up games prior to the start of the tournament, versus Namibia on the 12th and Nepal on the 14th.
Irish coach Brian O' Rourke is happy with the composition of his squad, "The players have been working hard in training, and are eagerly awaiting the start of the World Cup. The squad has a good blend of youth and experience, with four having played in Sri Lanka in 2006 (Thompson, Hall, Keaveney and Mc Kenna), and no fewer than seven players under the age of 17."
"We have a very strong batting line up, with Stirling and Dougherty being particularly impressive over the past few seasons. Ben Ackland has been over at Northants, while Graham Mc Donnell, Andrew Balbirnie, James Hall, James Shannon and Shane Getkate are all very talented players."
"We have plenty of options in the bowling department, and the squad is full of all rounders. We are particularly strong in the spin department, which I feel will be crucial, given the type of pitches we are likely to encounter in Malaysia."
"With both England and Bangladesh in our group, the standard of cricket we are likely to face is very high, but it will be the experience of a lifetime for the boys. We have put in a lot of hard work, and our fitness levels are improving all the time. We will be doing more hard work in January, with sessions at Skerries Hockey Club, and the National Aquatic Centre in Blanchardstown. This will be undoubtedly be the fittest Under 19 squad that has ever represented Ireland."
The squad in full is as follows:
  • Greg Thompson (Lisburn) Captain
  • Ben Ackland (Merrion)
  • Andrew Balbirnie (Pembroke)
  • Andrew Britton (Donemana)
  • Christopher Dougherty (Bready)
  • Shane Getkate (Malahide)
  • James Hall (Waringstown)
  • Richard Keaveney (Merrion)
  • Theo Lawson ( Pembroke)
  • Graham McDonnell (Pembroke)
  • Gavin McKenna (North Down)
  • Lee Nelson (Waringtown)
  • Stuart Poynter (Middlesex) W/K
  • James Shannon (Instonians)
  • Paul Stirling (Cliftonville)
  • Phil Simmons, National Coach
  • Brian O’Rouke, Team Coach
  • Brian Walsh, Team Manager
  • Iain Knox, Physio

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