Phil Simmons is backing his Irish charges to complete an historic treble as they prepare to face fierce rivals Afghanistan in the ICC InterContinental Cup final next week in Dubai.
With the 20 and 50 over World Cup Qualifying trophies already in the bag, Ireland will hope to finish an already successful 2013 on a high note.
“This team continues to improve and grow and their appetite for trophies and World Cups shows no sign of waning,” said Simmons. “That hunger and energy is still there and there’s a healthy competition for places which keeps everyone in the squad on their toes.
“This is the one trophy that’s currently missing from our cabinet at the moment, and the squad is keen to rectify that.”
Ireland, under the tutelage of Simmons and his predecessor Adi Birrell have dominated Associate cricket since 2005, winning no fewer than eight global competitions.
The InterContinental Cup was Simmons first major trophy with Ireland, as they completed an emphatic innings win against Canada at Leicester inside two days back in 2007.
“That win was special for me as it came at Grace Road, where I had such happy memories, including winning the County Championship. We defended it against Namibia the next time, but a combination of the weather and a loss to Afghanistan in Sri Lanka meant we missed out the last time,” he said.
There is an added incentive for Ireland in that the game will mark the swansong for the colossus that is Trent Johnston, who will take the field for the 197th and last time in the shamrock of Ireland.
InterContinental Cup final v Afghanistan at GCA, Dubai, December 10-14 (10am)
IRELAND: William Porterfield (captain) (Warwickshire), John Anderson (Merrion), George Dockrell (Somerset), Trent Johnston (YMCA), Ed Joyce (Sussex), John Mooney (North County), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union), Niall O’Brien (Leicestershire), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Stuart Thompson (Eglinton), Andrew White (Instonians), Gary Wilson (Surrey).