Ireland at full strength despite late call
Ireland have announced a full-strength squad for the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh, after being confirmed as late replacements for Australia. Three players have come into the group that finished as runners-up at the ICC Qualifier in October.
Fiachra Tucker and Harry Tector join their older brothers in the 15, to strengthen the spin-bowling, while opening batsman Stephen Doheny - captain of Ireland's Under-17s - has earned a first call-up. Sonny Cott and James Mitchell missed out from the 14 that participated in Malaysia, when Ireland were beaten to the final World Cup spot by Nepal.
Ireland remained on standby, however, after Australia pulled out of a Test tour of Bangladesh late last year. Cricket Australia's decision to withdraw from the Under-19 World Cup earlier this week led to Ireland agreeing to take their place.
Head coach, Ryan Eagleson, said Ireland were keen to impress having been given a second chance. The squad will fly to Dubai at the end of next week for a four-day training camp ahead of the tournament.
"We played some excellent cricket at both the European qualifiers in Jersey and the global qualifying event in Malaysia," Eagleson said. "Unfortunately we lost out at the final hurdle on both occasions, but we've been handed this lifeline which we intend to make the most of.
"Our group looks tough with India and New Zealand, while we will have a chance of revenge over Nepal who pipped us in Malaysia. We're all extremely grateful to the ICC for the opportunity to play in the World Cup and although we know it will be tough, we're determined to make everyone proud."
Jack Tector will continue to captain the side, which also includes twin brothers Gary and William McClintock. Lorcan Tucker, who was Ireland's leading run-scorer at the ICC Qualifier, will be vice-captain. Tector described leading his country at a World Cup as something he had "dreamt about".
"It is a massive opportunity for the squad to represent Ireland on the world stage," he said. "I can't thank the ICC enough for their invitation and Cricket Ireland for acting so fast as a result.
"Fortunately we have been training regularly, and with four days preparation in Dubai before we head on to Bangladesh, I know we will be ready for the India game on the 28th. We have experience in subcontinental conditions having been to Sri Lanka and Malaysia over the last 12 months, so hopefully this will stand us in good stead once we get to Bangladesh.
"To captain my country in a World Cup is something I have dreamt about over the last few years and now that it's actually happening is a truly unbelievable feeling."
Ireland's first match in Group D will be against India in Mirpur on January 28. The game, which had been expected to involve Australia, is currently scheduled to be televised.