Ireland name provisional Under 19 World Cup squad
GEORGE DOCKRELL and his Ireland Under-19 team are feeling the benefits of a tough winter training regime as they prepare for an U19 World Cup campaign in Australia this summer.
After months of hard work under the watchful eye of national coach Phil Simmons and U19 head coach Ryan Eagleson, among others, the squad has been whittled down to 19 youngsters who will be hoping to make the final cut of 15 for the biennial event.
The U19 World Cup has been the platform to launch successful international careers for established stars such as the O’Brien brothers, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Gary Wilson, William Porterfield and left-arm spinner Dockrell himself.
Indeed the conversion rate of players going on to play senior representative cricket is very impressive - from the last three U19 World Cups a total of 14 players have gone on to gain senior international recognition.
Of the 19 names announced by Cricket Ireland, Dockrell, Graeme McCarter and Shane Getkate have all attracted the attention of English county sides, while Andy McBrine was voted Young Player of 2011 by the Cricket Writers of Ireland.
Under 19 head coach Eagleson, a former international himself, said: “The selectors will monitor everyone’s form and performance from the beginning of the season.
“Form and fitness will be taken into consideration when the final 15 are selected. This might include boys who are not in this reduced squad if their form justifies selection.”
The fitness angle is worrying experienced team manager Brian Walsh, at the helm since 2004. He said: "We are a little concerned at some of the injuries that the boys are picking up. If we were going now to the World Cup, three or four of the boys would not be fit enough to be selected.”
The U19s will play practice matches against Ulster Grasshoppers (June 1), and the MCC (June 15) before the ICC European U19 Challenge series against their peers in Scotland at the start of July.
Two games against England U19s follow before the World Cup touring party leaves on July 25 for a nine day training camp in Darwin.
Ireland are drawn in Group A of the tournament and will play England, Australia and Nepal in Townsville, starting on August 12.
Ireland Under 19s provisional squad: G Dockrell (cpt) (Somerset), R Adair (Holywood), S Campbell (Coleraine), P Chase (Malahide), A Coughlan (North County), S Getkate (North County), R Forrest (w/k) (Clontarf), R Hunter (Donemana), T Kane (Merrion), A McBrine (Donemana), G McCarter (Fox Lodge), B McCarthy (Pembroke), J McClurkin (wk) (Carrickfergus), H MacDonnell (Leinster), S Shannon (Instonians), A Shields (North Down), P Tice (wk) (Merrion), J van der Merwe (Muckamore), B Wylie (Instonians).