Lucy O'Reilly, 13, could become Ireland's youngest woman cricketer after being named in the 14-member squad for the Women's World T20 qualifiers due to begin on July 23 in Dublin. She would also be the second-youngest overall, after Pakistan's Sajjida Shah, who had her first national call-up when she was 12.
O'Reilly, an allrounder, is the daughter of former Irish cricketer Peter O'Reilly and has played four limited-overs matches for Ireland A in division two of the county championships, taking 2 for 15 in their seven-wicket win over Worcestershire on June 23. She is the second 13-year old to be selected under national coach Jeremy Bray after Elena Tice, Ireland's current youngest cricketer, made her debut against Netherlands in August 2011.
Despite having five teenagers in the squad, Bray highlighted Ireland's wealth of experience going into the tournament. "While the headlines will be about the teenagers in the squad such as Lucy, Elena, Una Raymond-Hoey and Kim Garth, it shouldn't be forgotten that we've got a spine of experience in there too. Isobel and Cecelia Joyce have been stalwarts for over a decade now, while Clare Shillington and Eimear Richardson are also battle hardened."
Three teams from the qualifiers will compete in the Women's World T20 in Bangladesh in 2014 and Bray was optimistic about Ireland's chances. "It's a real bonus for the team to be on home soil," he said. "Our conditions will give us a massive advantage over the other sides who may find it very difficult to acclimatise. The fact that the ICC has just announced that there are three qualification places up for grabs instead of one is a real boost."
Ireland squad: Isobel Joyce (capt), Laura Delany, Kim Garth, Cecelia Joyce, Shauna Kavanagh, Amy Kenealy, Louise McCarthy, Lucy O'Reilly, Una Raymond-Hoey, Eimear Richardson, Melissa Scott-Hayward, Clare Shillington, Elena Tice, Mary Waldron