NCU Premier League club Muckamore have appointed former Ireland and North West Warriors coach Bobby Rao as first team coach for the 2019 season.
Bobby met the Muckamore squad for the first time on Monday night and the club have boosted their squad by adding Marcus O’Riordan, a 20-year-old batsman and off-spinner whose parents are from Cork. Marcus has spent the last seven years at the Kent Academy and has already been at an Ireland development squad practice under the eye of Ed Joyce. He also been invited to Northern Knights training sessions in February and March.
Karthik Rajavelu, another off-spinner, has joined from CIYMS and Fahad Iqbal is returning as professional.
Muckamore’s first team manager Ivan McCombe said: “I first approached Bobby back in August and explained that we were keen to see Muckamore players break through to the Northern Knights and hopefully the international stage. After further discussions and a few more meetings with the cricket committee and director of cricket Charles Henderson we reached agreement on Bobby becoming first team coach for 2019.”
Ivan added: “Bobby is relishing the challenge of coaching in the NCU for the first time. We are excited to see the progress from Sam, Adey, Marcus and a young player we have high hopes for, Luke Allen, plus 15-year-olds Ben Cunningham and Arnold Oduvlil will be training with the firsts. Neil Gill, our skipper, has worked with Bobby before at Ireland under age level and he is excited about working with him again.”
Gill described Rao as the “biggest signing we have ever made”.
He said: “We are keen to see players play in the Knights and Bobby is the best man to help any player achieve that. We have a young side and people forget that Craig Drummond is only 26 so his best years are ahead of him. Also, having had 10 boys and five girls included in the NCU under age development squads it’s important we have a pathway from youth cricket to international cricket. Bobby’s track record in producing top players is unequalled in Ireland so it’s an exciting announcement for the club.”
Bobby is overseeing a strength and coaching programme and skills trainings commences in a few weeks when he returns from India. He is also hoping to spend time coaching in Parkhall College.
Muckamore field seven adult teams as well as two midweek teams and teams at every underage level.