Belfast Telegraph

McCune happy with latest crop of Irish starlets

By David Mason

Ireland boss Roy McCune admits he'll be putting no pressure on his young guns in next month's British Isles Under-25 Indoor Home Internationals in Glasgow.

The Irish selectors were forced to reshuffle their pack after losing a posse of their established stars due to the age restriction.

It means that nine players are in line to make their debut. But McCune is focusing on the positives rather than the negatives, stating: "It's a new breed of talent and they deserve their chance at this level.

"We've gone through this process on previous occasions. We have benefited with the likes of Gary Kelly, Robert Allen and Ali Coleman making it through to the senior side. They will now be joined this year by Andy Duncan and Scott Jess.

"It's part of the boys' development at this stage. Yes, we will be missing a huge chunk of experience, but that's part and parcel of this tournament. These lads can play without pressure.

"The plus side is this new group of players now have the opportunity of competing in an international environment for the first time.

"Some of them have just come through from the Under-18 panel. Even though we've lost the likes of Kelly, Duncan, Allen and so on, we've still got a panel of 20 players to choose from.

"That's something we have struggled to do in recent years. It means that we can rotate the group during the International Series. Every one of them will play a part.

"They will all gain valuable experience which is vital because some of them will be playing at this level for some time."

Meanwhile, Ireland will have two new faces on show for next month's British Isles Senior Double Rink Championship staged at Warners Lakeside Coastal Village, Hayley Island, Southampton.

County Antrim pair John Nicholl and Stephen Coleman are drafted in for their debut, replacing Seamus Elliman and Bobby Johnston.

The tournament, played on February 7-8, also moves to a new venue near Hayley Island in the south of England.

Nicholl will feature at lead in the rink skipped by McCune, while Coleman is handed skipping responsibilities. He'll be joined by Stanley Hegan, Harry Elliott and Willie McCaw.

Belfast Telegraph

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