Wednesday 19 December 2007 

Ireland Name Winter Training Squad

The Irish Cricket Union have named a squad of 22 for Winter training which gets under way next month. Trent Johnston is once again the first name of the list, and the big all rounder will be at the helm as Ireland look to follow on from their successful campaign of 2008.

There are a few notable names missing from the squad, with John Mooney, Dom Joyce, Kenny Carroll, Jason Molins and Dave Langford-Smith all excluded.

In the case of Langford-Smith, the exile is self imposed as he is about to start up a painting and decorating business, and will be forced to miss the first half of the 2008 season due to these commitments. He will however be attending the training sessions in an effort to maintain fitness levels.

While not excluding anyone from future selection, Irish coach Phil Simmons confirmed that the squad which will travel to the UAE and Bangladesh pre season will be chosen from the 22 named.

Simmons has also shown that he isn't afraid to give youth a chance, with no fewer than four of the Ireland Under 19 squad being named, namely left armer Gavin Mc Kenna from North Down, 17 year old prodigy Paul Stirling from Cliftonville, all rounder James Hall from Waringstown, and leg spinner Greg Thompson of Lisburn, who unlike the other 3 has won Senior caps, nine to be precise.

While the majority of the squad featured for Ireland last season, there are 4 other players who have yet to win a full cap, Reinhardt Strydom, Phil Eaglestone, Peter Connell and Andrew Poynter, who all played for Ireland 'A' against Denmark and the MCC.

Opening batsman Jeremy Bray returns to the fold after missing much of the end of the 2007 season. The prolific left hander opted for a rest following the World Cup exploits, and wasn't recalled to the side as a number of openers were tried, albeit with little success.

The squad in full is as follows:

Winter training squad:

Trent Johnston (Railway Union)
Andre Botha (North County)
Jeremy Bray (The Hills)
Peter Connell (North Down)
Alex Cusack (Clontarf)
Phil Eaglestone (Strabane)
Thinus Fourie (Merrion)
James Hall (Waringstown)
Gary Kidd (Waringstown)
Kyle McCallan (Waringstown)
Gavin McKenna (North Down)
Eoin Morgan (Middlesex)
Kevin O' Brien (Railway Union)
Niall O' Brien (Northants)
William Porterfield (Gloucestershire)
Andrew Poynter (Clontarf)
Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire)
Paul Stirling (Cliftonville)
Reinhardt Strydom (North County)
Greg Thompson (Lisburn)
Andrew White (Instonians)
Gary Wilson (Surrey)

© Irish Cricket Union