Ireland boys face difficult opener against defending champions England

Ireland hope home advantage will help them regain the Boys Home International title at County Louth over the next three days.

It was an extremely tight affair at Harlech in North Wales last summer with Ireland taking the wooden spoon which means they open today against defending champions England.

Revenge will be very much on their minds as they were crushed 11-4 by the English at Harlech.

They can take heart from the fact that several of their team have been in form this summer and they made the top flight in last month’s European Boys Team Championship.

Gavin Moynihan, the McEvoy Trophy winner, has been particularly impressive and Robin Dawson and Alex Gleeson have shown up well while John Ross Galbraith reached the quarter-finals of the 2011 British Boys Championship.

Ireland also launch their bid for a first-ever Girls Home International title at Radyr in South Wales today with a huge task against England who have dominated the event since it became a full-blooded four-cornered series more than four decades ago.

Runners-up to the English at Gullane last August, they are without the Slieve Russell twin sisters Leona and Lisa Maguire who have been competing in the Irish Ladies Open at Killeen Castle and they will be a massive loss to the team.

There are three new caps in the Irish side which is captained by Niamh Kitching; Lurgan’s Niamh Ward, Jessica Ross of Donaghadee and Mary Doyle from The Heath.

Chloe Ryan, the Castleroy teenager who is also a senior international and Olivia Mehaffey from Royal County Down are the most experienced players in the team.

Ireland follow up their opening-day battle against England with a match against Wales and conclude on Thursday against Scotland.


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