Baker positive about Home International hopes

Graham McKee - NIBA
Graham McKee - NIBA

Ireland boss Jim Baker admits he is approaching next month’s Home International Series at Leamington Spa, England, with a great deal of confidence.

Following the weekend’s IBA Inter-association Championships, hosted by the NIBA, the Irish selectors got their heads together to finalise the squad.

They ultimately handed Ballymoney’s Aaron Tennant a debut along with Belmont player Stuart Bennett.

Perhaps it not surprising that the Ireland officials decided to keep the changes to a minimum due to the fact that the team did exceptionally well in last season’s International Championship in Dublin

Ireland were pipped to the title by England, but it was a photo finish.

“We just missed out on the trophy 12 months ago, so the selectors decided not to tinker with the team too much,” said Irish boss Jim Baker.

“Both Aaron and Stuart have been knocking at the door in recent years, so they deserve their opportunity.

“We’ll be travelling to England hoping to go one better than last time. I’ve no doubt the team can again put in a strong challenge.”

Tennant and Bennett will both feature in the rink skipped by Ian McClure, who will again captain the team.

Ireland: Rink 1: G Kelly (Ballymoney), R Leonard (St. James Gate), G McKee (Bangor), M McHugh (Whitehead)

Rink 2: A Tennant (Ballymoney), N Robinson (Ballymena), S Bennett (Belmont), I McClure (Portrush)

Rink 3: S Shields (Ballymena), DJ Wilson (Dunbarton), B Browne (Whitehead), N Booth (Old Bleach)

Rink 4: S Martin (Bangor), N Graham (Lisnagarvey), M Wilson (Cookstown), G McCloy (Portrush)

Rink 5: P Daly (Belmont), J Talbot (Old Bleach), A Kyle (Ballymena), B Kane (Dunluce)

Rink 6: M McPeak (Belmont), N Mulholland (Lisnagarvey), R Hastings (Bangor), C Craig (Balmoral)

Reserves: S Coleman (Ballymena), S. Leonard (StJames Gate), R Maher (St James Gate), C McCartan (Dunbarton).