BOWLS: It's six of the best for new-look Irish

The NIBA team that won the IBA title
The NIBA team that won the IBA title

Stephen Kirkwood will make his Ireland debut in the 2016 Under-25 Home International Series at Eglin in Scotland.

It will hardly be a daunting experience for the Old Bleach player because he has already represented the Irish senior side on six occasions.

He is one of next new caps on board. Kirkwood is joined by Sam Barkley Ryan Cavan, Jack Moffett, JP Fahy and Jordan McBride for the two-day Series, on September 10-11.

Kirkwood was again an impressive performer in the IBA Inter-association Championship staged at Carrickfergus and Whitehead over the weekend, which was won by the NIBA for the first time since 2010.

Ireland boss Michael Nutt and his team of selectors then had the job of revamping the Irish side due to the fact that a posse last year’s team were ruled out due to the age restriction.

Chris Brogan, Chris Snoddy, Jack Montgomery, Shane Leonard and Thomas Carson have all performed at this level for the last time, while Scott Jess and Terry Crawford are unavailable for this season’s event.

However, Nutt remains upbeat about the crop of new players. He said: “Several of the lads have graduated from the Under-18 Test squads who have featured against Scotland over the past two years, while the others impressed at inter-association level.

“Stephen Kirkwood missed out last season as he was competing in the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa. His experience will be crucial as he has already played in the senior side.”

Meanwhile, the NIBA were too hot to handle in the IBA Under-25 Inter-association Chamionship at the weekend. It was a particularly satisfying two days for NIBA official Stephen Moran.

Not only is he president of the IBA this season, but his team broke their six year trophy drought on his home green at Whitehead. “The lads were excellent over the three games,” beamed Moran. “The consistency of bowling was superb. "

Ireland Under-25 team: Rink one: S Barkley (Old Bleach), R Cavan (Belmont), R Bell (Mossley), R Kirkwood (Old Bleach).

Rink two: A Johnston (Lisnagarvey), J Moffett (Banbrige), T McClean (Bangor), M Crawford (Bangor).

Rink three: JP Fahy (Portrush), M Jones (Portglenone), C Dorman (Donaghadee), A Tennant (Ballymoney).

Rink four: M Hastings (Bangor), M Albert (Balmoral), D O’Kane (Letterkenny), W Boyd (Donaghadee).

Rink five: S Shields (Ballymena), J McBride, J Moffett (Dunbarton), S Kirkwood (Old Bleach).

Rink six: D Mills (Pickie), J Byrne (Crumlin), A O’Keeffe (St James’s Gate), D Atkinson (Belmont).

Reserves: A Clyde (Dunluce), A McKeown (Mossley), J Watson (Pickie).

Results: IBA Inter-association Championship: NIBA 97 (5) NIPGL 75 (2); NIPBA 91 (6) BLI 69 (1).

NIBA 78 (6) BLI 62 (1); NIPGL 60 (5) NIPBA 59 (2).

NIPGL 111 (6) BLI 55 (1); NIBA 74 (6) NIPBA 71 (1).

Final positions: 1 NIBA 17pts; 2 NIPGL 13 pts; 3 NIPBA 9pts; 4 BLI 1pt.

* It was a case of so near, yet so far for Gary Kelly in the popular Bangor Bowls Tournament, sponsored by Ards and North Down Borough Council, at Ward Park. Although Ballymoney man walked off with the pairs title, he was beaten in the final of the triples and fours.

Bangor Bowls Tournament -- sponsored by Ards and North Down Borough Council.

Singles: S Cavan (Belmont) 15 D Black (CI-Knock) 5.

Pairs: G McKee (Bangor), G Kelly (Ballymoney) 10 B McFall, A Stewart (Bangor) 0.

Triples: J Moffett, M Wilson, A Hughes (Dunbarton) 9 K Taylor, G McKee (Bangor), G Kelly (Ballymoney) 12.

Fours: R McCutcheon, K Taylor, G McKee, G Kelly (Ballymoney) 7 C Beattie (Ewarts), J Moffett (Banbridge), M Wilson, A Hughes (Dunbarton) 12.

Mixed pairs: I Stevenson (Unattached), T Cannavan (Bangor) 19 R Kerr, J Kerr (Falls) 8.

Under-18 singles: R Millar (Willowfield) 4 A Wright (Castleton) 15.