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Ireland At Full - Strength For Final intercontinental Cup Clash

William Portafield

Ireland will be at full-strength for their final match in the ICC InterContinental Cup against Scotland in Dubai at the end of the month.

The four-times winners welcome back Niall O'Brien, Paul Stirling and George Dockrell from the squad which drew with The Netherlands in Dublin in August. They replace John Anderson, Nathan Smith and Jack Tector in a 14-man squad.

Ireland Head Coach John Bracewell and the selectors resisted the temptation to make any radical changes for the tour, opting for tried and tested experience.

"The recent Ireland Wolves tour of Bangladesh gave us the opportunity to monitor closely the talents of many of the young players who are on the fringes of the squad in what was a very testing and competitive environment," said Bracewell.

"Despite strong performances at times, the youngsters lacked consistency. Once they add that to their game they won't be too far away from featuring in the senior ranks. They know what is required at this level and I'm certain they will all be working even harder at their game following the tour."

Ireland will be looking to bow out of the competition on a winning note, but their hopes of a fifth title is out of their hands as they are 12 points adrift of leaders Afghanistan who face hosts UAE in Abu Dhabi, a fact acknowledged by Ireland captain William Porterfield.

"We want to finish the competition strongly," said Porterfield. "The ICup has been traditionally a great competition for Irish cricket and there have have been some memorable wins along the way.

"I made my debut in the competition against Namibia in 2006 so have fond memories of the tournament. The four-day format has been a wonderful way of introducing a lot of the younger players into the game, and has really helped in their development.

"Afghanistan are obviously in the driving seat, but we will look to put them under pressure. It's always a tough battle against Scotland and I expect this match will be no different."

The Irish will also play Afghanistan in a three-game ODI series in Sharjah after the ICup clash and Porterfield realizes the matches will be an important step in the Irish preparations for next year's World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe.

"These games will be massive with everyone out to impress new Head Coach Graham Ford who takes over from John Bracewell after the Afghanistan ODI series..

"With only two places available it's going to be incredibly tough in Zimbabwe, but these matches will allow Graham to start to put his own plans together for the squad."

Ford will be present for the entirety of the UAE tour in an observational role, undertaking a hand-over with John Bracewell, after which he will take over the reins on December 11th. 


William Porterfield (Formby CC/Warriors), Ed Joyce (Merrion/Lightning), Andrew Balbirnie (Pembroke/Lightning), Niall O’Brien (Nantwich/Warriors), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Simi Singh (YMCA/Lightning), Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union/Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster/Lightning), Jacob Mulder (CIYMS/Knights), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Peter Chase (Malahide/Lightning), Gary Wilson (Derbyshire/Knights), Barry McCarthy (Durham/Lightning).


Ireland v Scotland, ICC InterContinental Cup, November 29 - December 2, Dubai International Stadium

Ireland v Afghanistan, ODI Series, December 5, 7 and 10, Sharjah.