Ireland call up Kate McKenna for Women's WT20
Ireland have called up Merrion's Kate McKenna to their squad for the ICC Women's World T20 squad, with her inclusion the only change from the squad that won the qualifier in Bangkok in December.
They have also drafted in former Australian international Julia Price to join their backroom staff ahead of the tournament, which begins in India in March.
Ireland ICC Women's T20 squad
Isobel Joyce (captain), Catherine Dalton, Laura Delany, Kim Garth, Jennifer Gray, Cecelia Joyce, Shauna Kavanagh, Amy Kenealy, Gaby Lewis, Robyn Lewis, Ciara Metcalfe, Kate McKenna, Lucy O'Reilly, Clare Shillington, Mary Waldron
Ireland's ICC Women's T20 fixtures
18th March v New Zealand, Mohali
20th March v Sri Lanka, Mohali
23rd March v South Africa, Chennai
26th March v Australia, Delhi
She joins the coaching team led by head coach Aaron Hamilton, who is delighted to have her on board.
"It's great to have Julia joining our support staff for the World Cup," he said.
"Julia brings a wealth of knowledge and coaching experience to the group."
They have kept their faith in the squad that got them to India and added McKenna's all-round skills to their final 15-strong party.
"We've gone with the 14 who performed so well out at the qualifying tournament in Thailand, with Kate McKenna also coming into the squad," Hamilton explained.
"Kate is an electric fielder which is so important in the T20 game, and she will also bolster our batting line-up."
Ireland have been drawn in Group A and will take on three-time champions Australia, twice finalists New Zealand, Sri Lanka and South Africa, and Hamilton admits the tournament will be a huge challenge for his squad.
"We've a tough game first up against New Zealand, but the squad has been training together right through the winter and with three warm-ups against India, Bangladesh and Pakistan lined-up, we'll be ready to hit the ground running."
Price, who played 10 Tests and 84 One-Day Internationals for Australia, is relishing the chance to play a coaching role at international level having already made her mark on domestic cricket since retiring.
"I'm very excited to be invited into the Irish women's team sanctum and having the opportunity to attend a T20 World Cup as part of the coaching set-up," Price said.
"Having a good relationship with Ireland has already offered good opportunities for both countries to have players experiencing different environments and also allowing me to have some insight into Irish players Mary Waldron, Kim Garth and Una Raymond-Hoey.
"Hobart Hurricanes players Sasha Moloney and Brooke Hepburn and Tasmanian Roar player Paris Crowe all got to play in Ireland this year and really benefit from the experience as I did back in 2000 when I played and coached with Merrion."
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