Inexperienced Ireland side will have it all to do in Glasgow

Scott Jess
Scott Jess

Ireland will have a posse of new faces on show for next month’s British Isles Under-25 Indoor Home Internationals in Glasgow.

Having lost a number of their most experienced back end players due to the age restriction, the Irish selectors have drafted in nine debutants for the two-day Series.

Included for the first time are Andrew Johnston, Michael Hedley, Sam Barkley, Scott Jess, Dean Mills, Nigel Beggs, Ryan Cavan, Jordan Millar and Shay Martin.

With Andy Duncan, Gary Kelly, Robert Allen, George Carson, Stephen Shields, Kris Matchett and Terry Crawford not involved this time, Ireland’s aspirations of lifting the title may well have to be shelved a little while longer.

But in many ways it takes the pressure of the new breed of players - they basically have nothing to lose.

“Yes, we will be missing a huge chunk of experience,” said Irish boss Roy McCune. “But that’s part and parcel of this tournament.

“The other nations have a huge amount of players to choose from. We are no in that position.

“In saying that, even though we’ve lost quite a few, we will still be taking a good squad of players to Glasgow.

“It will be an inexperienced group. But for the first time in a few years, we’ll be in a position to rotate the team. Everyone of the squad will play a part.

“Most of them are only developing at this level. The experience of playing in a competitive environment in an international arena will be vital.

“There are still a few boys in there who have performed before . . . the likes of Stephen Coleman; the Kirkwood brothers, Stephen and Robert; Reece Millar and Jamie Watson, so we’ll be relying on the experience they have.

“The big benefit is that fact that Kelly, Ali Coleman and Allen have gone on to become established in the senior team. They’ll be joined by Duncan and Jess at Stanley in March. The new boys I’m sure will be hoping to follow their lead.”

Ireland Under-25 squad: C Prunty (BIBC), Stuart Coleman (CAIBC), D Atkinson (BIBC), Alistair Coleman (CAIBC), A Johnston (BIBC), M Hedley (BIBC), C Brogan (BCIBC), S Kirkwood (BIBC), Aaron Coleman (CAIBC), S Barkley (CAIBC), S Jess (BIBC), Stephen Coleman (CAIBC), R Millar (BIBC), D Mills (BIBC), J Watson (BIBC), R Kirkwood (BIBC), J Millar (BCIBC), S Martin (BCIBC), N Beggs (CAIBC), R Cavan (BIBC).