Ireland ring the changes ahead of U-25 international battle at Belmont

Bowling league of Ireland player Thomas Smyth
Bowling league of Ireland player Thomas Smyth

Ireland will have five new faces on show for the 2014 Under-25 Home International Championship, staged at Belmont on September 13-14.

In for their first taste of action come Dunbarton’s Jack Moffett, Gerard Robinson (Salisbury), Thomas McClean (Sydenham), Andy O’Keeffe (St James’s Gate) and Lisnagarvey’s Scott Jess, while Bangor’s Matthew Crawford has earned a recall.

The Irish lost the services of three established players to the age restriction - Andy Duncan, Simon Colvin and Mark Torrington.

Jacke Montgomery, who had such an impressive Inter-Assocation Series at the weekend, is not available.

Manager Michael Nutt, who is taking charge of the side for the first time, insists the new caps are in on merit.

“They all showed up well at Belmont over the two days,” he said.

“With a few places to fill, there was some strong competition, but they deserve their chance.

“The team performed well in Wales last year, losing narrowly to England and the host nation, but they ended on a high by beating Scotland in a game that was stopped before the finish because of rain.

“So we have something to build on. We have a little added advantage this time as we will be playing at home. Hopefully, the supporters will come out and give the team some backing and encouragement. It’s also my first Series in charge and I’m really looking forward dto it.”

Nutt stressed that although long term planning and development is very much the key at this level, it’s also important for the team to taste a bit of success along the way.

“The likes of Gary Kelly, Stephen Shields and Aaron Tennant have progressed to the senior side which is the ultimate aim,” he added.

“So there is a big incentive, but it’s also about being successful and performing to the best of our ability against the other nations at Under-25 level.”

Meanwhile, the Private Greens League recaptured the Under-25 Inter-association Championship at Belmont at the weekend. They ended the two day event with an unblemished record, giving them the trophy for the sixth time.

Ireland Under-25 team: Rink One: A Johnston (Dromore), C Snoddy (Larne), R Allen (Portrush), G Kelly (Ballymoney).

Rink Two: D Witherspoon (Larne), D Atkinson (Belmont), A Tennant (Ballymoney), T Crawford (Belmont).

Rink Three: S Shields (Ballymena), J Moffett (Dunbarton), D O’Kane (Letterkenny), A Coleman (Ballymena).

Rink Four: G Robinson (Salisbury), T McClean (Sydenham), R Bell (Mossley), R Kirkwood (Old Bleach).

Rink Five: G Pierpoint (St James’s Gate), A O’Keeffe (St James’s Gate), J Byrne (Crumlin), S Leonard (St James’s Gate).

Rink Six: S Jess (Lisnagarvey), W Boyd (donaghadee), C Dorman (Donaghadee), M Crawford (Bangor).

Reserves: M Albert (Balmoral), C Brogan (Ballymoney), M Mason (Coleraine), C Mullen (Forth River).

IBA Under-25 Inter-Association Championship results: NIPGL 91 (6) NIPBA 76 (1); NIBA 97 (6) BLI 50 (1).

NIPBA 65 (2) NIBA 73 (5); BLI 70 (1.5) NIPGL 84 (5.5).

NIPGL 108 (7) NIBA 55 (0); NIPBA 99 (7) BLI 57 (0).

Final positions: 1 NIPGL 18.5pts; 2 NIBA 11pts; 3 NIPBA 10pts; 4 BLI 2.5pts.

n Pickie’s Ryan Cavan won the prestigious Belmont Bowls Club’s City of Belfast singles title on Sunday.

Cavan defeated his Ireland Under-25 team mate Terry Crawford, from the host club, in an epic final, winning 21-16.

Crawford, however, grabbed a late consolation by winning the pairs, along with Paul O’Neill, from Fally. They beat Stephen Kirkwood (Old Bleach) and JP Fahy (Brooke Park) 24-16 in the final.

It wasn’t a great day for Fahy as he also lost out in the Under-25 singles final, beaten 21-15 by Bangor’s Thomas Carson.

n Old Bleach’s James Talbot helped maintain his club’s amazing record in the popular Portrush Bowls Tournament at Ramore Head.

He defeated Coleraine’s Alistair Davidson 21-20 in a classic final which meant that an Old Bleach player has now lifted the trophy for the past six years.

Ballymoney’s Brian McAlary was a double winner, partnering Martin McAleese to victory in the pairs.Results round-up . . .

Belmont City of Belfast finals: Singles: R Cavan (Pickie) 21 T Crawford (Belmont) 16.

Under-25 singles: T Carson (Bangor) 21 JP Fahy (Brooke Park) 15.

Mixed Pairs: S Swan (Holywood), J McIlwrath (Ulster Transport) 10 K Woodside, P Woodside (Willowfield) 32.

Singles Plate: L Carson (Sydenham) 21 A Duncan (Ballymena) 17.

Pairs Plate: R Barr (Belmont) B Parker (Clydebank) 15 N Thompson, S Bennett (Belmont) 25.

Ladies singles: E Woods (Belmont) 18 S McAuley (Ewarts) 21.

Ladies pairs: P Smith (Knock), M McGuile (Knock) 22 M McCord (Pickie), S McAuley (Ewarts) 16.

Portrush finals: Singles: J Talbot (Old Bleach), 21 A Davidson (Coleraine) 20.

Pairs: M McAleese, B McAlary (Ballymoney) 22 J Shields, P Kennedy (Portrush) 4.

Mised Triples: B Logue, J Martin, B McAlary (Ballymoney) 19 B McIlroy, S McLean, D McCann (Kilrea) 11.

Ladies singles: B O’Neill (Limavady) 21 I Eldon (Dungannon) 7.

Ladies pairs: E Ferguson, L McCullough (Ballymena) 16 J McClure, V Witheroe (City of Derry) 13