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Cricket: No world stage for injured Mooney

By Ian Callender

John Mooney is out of the World Twenty20 — a devastating blow for the Ireland all-rounder who also missed the last week of the qualifying tournament in Dubai because of injury.

The Dubliner was the big omission from the 15-man squad, as Cricket Ireland revealed that a dislocated finger has ruled him out of the squad for Sri Lanka.

Boyd Rankin, though, who quits Ireland at the end of the year, is included.

Mooney, whose last representative game was in Durham three weeks ago, when he captained Ireland A, was named in the senior squad for the first four-day game against South Africa A, in Oak Hill last week, but when the first two days were rained off, Mooney was left out of the starting line-up.

That was to allow him to have a scan on the thumb which he bruised when taking a catch during the Intercontinental Cup game against Afghanistan five weeks ago, but it revealed nothing was broken and he was given the all clear to play again in two weeks time.

But last weekend, Mooney unluckily dislocated a finger when playing for North County and it is that injury which will keep him out of cricket for two months and forces him to follow Ireland’s fifth global tournament, and their fourth in as many years, from home.

It completes a tournament to forget for Mooney who injured his shoulder during the World Twenty20 qualifying group game against Scotland in Dubai and ruled him out of Ireland’s final six games.

Having won all six to qualify as tournament winners, Ireland have proved they can cope with the loss of Mooney but next month’s action, against Australia and West Indies, is a major step up and the vast experience of the 30-year-old — he has been an ever-present for the last three years — is sure be missed on the world stage.

Mooney acknowledges that his full-time contract with Ireland, which he signed in 2009, has been the key to his success in the last three years.

Before he became a regular member of the side, at the World Twenty20 in England, Mooney had played 45 matches in eight years out of Ireland’s total of 149 internationals in that period.

Of the next 87 games, until his injury in Dubai, Mooney played 83.

Alex Cusack, who also missed the final stages of the qualifying tournament because of a groin injury, is named in the squad although he will see a specialist next week to determine the extent of his problem which has recurred and prevented him from bowling in this week’s four-day game against South Africa A.

He will take no part in the three one-day games, at Strabane on Sunday and Stormont on Tuesday and Thursday, but said he expects to be involved in the Twenty20 games at Oak Hill and Malahide the following week.

The beneficiary of Mooney dropping out of the squad is Limavady all-rounder Stuart Thompson who is included after playing just three four-day games to date.

Meanwhile Wednesday’s rain, which ended play in Ireland’s game against South Africa at Coleraine shortly after lunch, proved so prolonged that the final day of the game was abandoned as a draw before the scheduled start of play yesterday.

Scores: Ireland 1st innings 180 (J Anderson 68, K O’Brien 58; W Parnell 5-52, R Kleinveldt 3-30) South Africa 219-6 (H Kuhn 57 not out, S van Zyl 44, R Hendricks 41, R McLaren 36 not out). Match drawn

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