Ireland gear up for Twenty20 challenge
Ireland's cricketers will warm up for next month's ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka when they take on a strong South Africa A squad in four Twenty20 games at Oak Hill and Malahide.
The games are crucial for the Irish who will be facing Australia and West Indies in just over three weeks time in Colombo and coach Phil Simmons is hoping for strong performances from the players: "These fixtures provide the perfect opportunity for the squad to get vital match practice before the start of the tournament. South Africa A have proven formidable opponents and it's been fantastic to face cricketers of their quality on a regular basis.
"The team is looking forward to facing South Africa A again at the magnificent setting at Oak Hill, and of course we'll be playing our first internationals at the new Malahide development. Both venues are excellent for cricket and we're sure the Irish supporters will come out and enjoy the most exciting format of the game, and give the team an excellent send-off before Sri Lanka.
"We're hoping to be able to feature some of the county based players for the games later in the week, and they will bolster the team in what are sure to be high octane clashes."
Cricket Ireland have organised the start times of the games to ensure the public can all come along and support the team. The games on Monday, Wednesday and Friday all begin at 4pm, with the fixture on Sunday starting at 2pm.
Admission is free to all the fixtures, while there will be a DJ playing music at the Malahide games, and food and drink will also be available in what is certain to be a wonderful day out for all the family.
The Ireland squad in full is as follows:
Kevin O'Brien (captain) (Railway Union/Somerset), John Anderson (Merrion), Andrew Balbirnie* (Pembroke/Middlesex), Peter Connell (CIYMS), Trent Johnston (YMCA), Nigel Jones (CSN), Andrew Poynter (Clontarf), Stuart Poynter (MCCYC), James Shannon (Instonians), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Paul Stirling* (Middlesex), Stuart Thompson (Limavady), Albert van der Merwe (YMCA), Andrew White (Instonians) Gary Wilson* (Surrey).
* subject to county release
The Twenty20 fixtures are as follows:
Ireland v South Africa A - Monday August 27 at 4pm, Oak Hill
Ireland v South Africa A - Wednesday August 29 at 4pm, Oak Hill
Ireland v South Africa A - Friday August 31 at 4pm, Malahide
Ireland v South Africa A - Sunday September 2 at 2pm, Malahide.