The Ger Siggins Column
Inside Edge: 9 August
The Ger Siggins Column: Previous Articles
Niall O’Brien got a call recently from a county coach enquiring about his availability for 2013. ”Are you still playing for Ireland?” he was asked. When he replied yes, the coach made his excuses and hung-up.
The conversation highlights a worrying development for Irish cricket as English clubs try to tighten the screw.
“What happened with Boyd Rankin is a difficult situation”, O’Brien explains.
“When your coach, Ashley Giles, is also an England selector, and he tells you that if you want to play test cricket you have to give up playing for Ireland, what do you do? It’s a horrible position to be in, but this is Boyd’s time, and he has big ambitions.”
O’Brien too has big ambitions, but it’s safe to say he’s had the worst year of his playing life.
“I had big expectations, but was disappointed to be dropped when I was. I was out for dinner with the coach and he was full of how great I was, and then he dropped me two days later.”
David Capel, was let go soon afterwards, but things aren’t much better under his replacement, David Ripley.
“He’s been coaching my replacement since he was a kid, so its going to be hard to get in. I like the club, and am settled in the community, but if I have to move to get first team cricket then I will.”
O’Brien will play in the televised Pro40 game tomorrow night, and plays for Ireland against South Africa A at Coleraine next week.
“If things don’t work out here I’d love to come home and help develop the next generation of Irish stars. These are big times for Irish cricket and it would be great to be a part of it. I’m enjoying the game again, “I’m really looking forward to getting out there with Ireland, and working towards the T20 World Cup.”
The Bob Kerr cup semifinal stuffings handed out by The Hills (at Waringstown) and Merrion (at Donemana) raised plenty of eyebrows at the weekend. Both losing sides are royalty in their respective unions, and to be trashed at home by second-rank Dublin clubs was quite a shock to their home support.
The bowling of the timeless Naz Shoukat (6-22) saw the Hills home, while Rory Allwright stepped up to the mark with an unbeaten 74 for Merrion. Waringstown won the Irish Senior Cup last year, the first by an NCU side since 1995, while 2004 saw the last North-west triumph.
Whoever wins on 1 September, 10 of the 12 ISCs this century have been won by Dublin clubs.
And with Leinster beating a combined North/North-West selection, talk of a shift in the balance of power is clearly premature.
Headaches for Phil Simmons ahead of the World Twenty20. Not only have three of his top four batsmen fallen out of favour over the short-form at their counties, but now Paul Stirling is out for a month with a damaged shoulder. The Irish coach will be looking to some of the young guns making a late run against South Africa A this month.
Tweet of the week: Olympic insights from Andrew Balbirnie (@balbo90):
Performance of the week: centuries in women’s cricket are rare, especially in 20 overs. So take a bow Laura Delany (Leinster) who made