Johnston is new Northern Knights coach as Moleon loses out

Simon Johnston has twice been named coach of the yearSimon Johnston has twice been named coach of the year
Simon Johnston has twice been named coach of the year
Eugene Moleon has lost his job as coach of the Northern Knights after Cricket Ireland unveiled Simon Johnston as his replacement on Monday.

Johnson, who is coach of Waringstown, will lead the NCU side into the new era of first-class cricket in Ireland next summer.

The 37-year-old, who was Cricket Ireland Coach of the Year in 2014 and 2015, takes the reins from Moleon who had been in charge of the Knights for four seasons with mixed results.

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Johnston’s credentials for the role include helping his club side win the 2015 Irish Senior Cup, and the U15’s claim back-to-back European titles.

Waringstown will want Johnston, a former Woodvale player, to continue in his role at The Lawn, even if his input is likely to be reduced.

Confirming the appointment by the NCU and Cricket Ireland, new NCU chairman Alan Waite welcomed Johnston to his new role saying:

“We feel Simon has really developed and grown as a coach over the past few seasons, leading a number of highly successful teams. He is clearly very passionate about both the NCU and Northern Knights.

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Waite paid tribute to outgoing coach Moleon for his endeavours with the Knights since 2013.

“We would like to thank Eugene for his great efforts over the last four years, and whilst he will not be involved in the Knights directly, he will be remaining part of the NCU’s player development programmes and Cricket Ireland are keen for him to work in some specialist areas in their programmes.”

Johnston was delighted at his new role, particularly since the Hanley Energy Inter-Provincial Series will have enhanced status in 2017, with Championship games attaining first-class status, while the 50-over and T20 formats will be List-A matches.

“I am delighted to have been asked to act as Head Coach of the Northern Knights, a role which I see as both a great honour and a great challenge, particularly given the enhanced status of next year’s competition,” said Johnston.

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“The NCU has put a huge effort over the past three years into building a pathway for their under-age players to achieve representative honours. I have been heavily involved with that programme and would intend to push that initiative up through our Under 17’s and Emerging Knights squads so that there is a clear route for our players to maximise their potential.

“Last year a number of players forced their way into the Senior National side through their Inter-Provincial performances and I will be giving the message loud and clear that we want players in the Knights squad who have the desire to do likewise.”

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