IRELAND manager Roy McCune admits his young team face a massive challenge in the British Isles Under-18 Championship at Stanley Bowls Club over the weekend.
The fledgling Irish outfit will pit their skills against the might of the other Home Nations in a tournament that has now become established on the bowls calendar.
This is the fourth year of the event and, although the Irish kids have had little celebrate – Ryan Bell picked up the only medal so far, a singles bronze two years ago – they will again give it their best shot.
“The tournament is a learning curve for us,” said McCune. “It gives these kids the opportunity of competing in an international environment – they will all benefit from the experience.
“It’s a young squad . . . it will be the youngest of all the Home Nations. England, Scotland and Wales are well established at this level and have a big player base to choose from. That’s reflected in the fact they they will all have two teams on show.
“It’s a big ask for our team, but they are all looking forward to it.
“They have a great attitude and are learning all the time.”
James Brown, a 15 year old, is the only newcomer in the Ireland team.
He is joined by Reece Miller, Stephen Coleman and brother and sister, Jamie and Chloe Watson.
Miller has been given the responsibility of featuring in the singles.
“Reece has been playing particularly well in the build-up to the tournament,” added McCune. “He deserves his chance. He has a great attitude and hasn’t any fears when he goes onto the green.
“Ryan Bell won bronze in the singles discipline a couple years ago. He was unlucky not to have gone into the gold-silver play-off. It was a big boost to the entire group.
“We we are in this togheter – it’s a shared responsibility. Jamie Brown comes in for the first time, but he featured for the Under-25s in the Home Series at Nottingham back in January, so he will not be overawed.”
Miller and Chloe Watson will team up in the pairs, with Brown, Jamie Watsion and Stephen Coleman featuring in the triples.
That same group will play in the four with Chloe Watson drafted in at lead.
Ireland: Singles: R Miller. Pairs: R Miller, C Watson. Triples: J Brown, Jamie Watson, S Coleman. Fours: C Watson, J Brown, J Watson, S Coleman.
England 1: Singles: E Elmore. Pairs: K Rednall, T Meller. Triples E Elmore, M Ray, N Cummings. Fours: K Rednall, N Cummings, M Ray, T Meller.
England 2: Singles: R Atkins. Pairs: BJ Byles, C Cinato. Triples: S Grove, L Sabatini, R Atkins. Fours: BJ Byles, S Grove, L Sabatini, C Cinato.
Scotland 1: Singles: G McLaughlin. Pairs: M Paterson, J Banks. Triples: K Harrison, B Maywood, G McLaughlin. Fours: M Paterson, K Harrison, B Maywood, J Banks.
Scotland 2: Singles: J Slaven. Pairs: J Meikle K Clinton. Triples: S Murray, K Simants, J Slaven. Fours: J Meilke, S Murray, K Simants, K Clinton.
Wales 1: Singles: S Hill. Pairs: A Rees, J Philips. Triples: K Thomas, S Hill, G Parr. Fours: A Rees, K Thomas, J Philips, G Parr.
Wales 2: Singles: T Jones. Pairs: J Hancock, T Jones. Triples: J McCarthy, N Salmon, B Cloake. Fours: J Hancock, J McCarthy, N Salmon, B Cloake.
Channel Islands: Singles: R Videgrain. Pairs: R Videgrain, C Staples. Triples: C Rabey, B Le Feurve, L Batsite. Fours: C Rabey, B Le Feurve, C Staples, L Batsite.