Ireland boss Roy McCune admits he is keeping his fingers crossed that Andy Duncan will be available for the 2014 Under-25 Home International Series in early February.
The team skipper has been struggling to recover form a shoulder injury, sustained playing football last month.
Manager Roy McCune admits he will give Duncan, who is on the periphery of the Irish senior squad, ‘every opportunity’ of making a full recovery to take part in the tournament, staged at the County Antrim Indoor Bowls Club, on February 8-9.
“Andy still has a bit of time,” said McCune. “By all accounts it was a pretty serious injury and is taking time to heal.
“He is a big player for us. His performances last season in Newport were exceptional. I know he has been playing in short mat tournaments, but using his left arm. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed he makes it.”
Having already lost Simon Colvin, due to the age restrictions, it would be a massive blow to Ireland’s hopes of winning the Joyce Brimble Memorial Trophy for the first time, if Duncan fails in his bid.
With Jamie Brown also missing this time, Ireland selectors have drafted in Stephen Kirkwood and Stephen Shields for the debut, while Terry Crawford will take over Colvin’s skipping duties.
McCune is hoping the team can build on last season’s performance at Newport. Even though they consumed a heavy opening defeat by England, their display against Wales and Scotland pleased the manager.
He added: “We were being well beaten by an England side that was on top of their game. To be honest, their Under-25 team could well give their senior side a run for their money.
“But the boys showed great resilience to produce a battling display in the next game against Wales. Only eight shots separated the teams at the finish. So that was a big plus in terms of the team not letting their heads drop after the England result.
“Although we were beaten in our final game by Scotland, again the team showed their battling qualities, losing out by only 12 shots. It’s important to now build on those two performances.”