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Dockrell leads Lightning squad strengthened by McCarthy return

George Dockrell
George Dockrell

By Ian Callender

George Dockrell has been confirmed as captain for a second successive season of the Leinster Lightning squad scheduled to open their defence of the Inter-provincial Cup in La Manga in 10 days' time.

Dockrell leads an experienced 13-man squad of whom only Jack Tector, returning from injury, and Fionn Hand, his new YMCA team-mate, were not involved in Ireland or Wolves matches during the winter and with Barry McCarthy named as one of nine senior internationals.

Because of his county commitments, McCarthy hasn't played for Lightning since 2013, the first year of the revamped inter-provincial series, but after being released by Durham last year, he is available full time for Lightning and Pembroke.

Albert van der Merwe continues as head coach for the opening two games against North West Warriors on April 22 and Northern Knights three days later, but Lightning are in search of a replacement as the former Ireland international slow bowler has been appointed as Cricket Ireland's first Talent Pathway Manager and Coach.

From May 7, Van der Merwe will lead and oversee CI's player development programme for all national youth teams (boys and girls U13-U19) and be responsible for the implementation of a strategy for the recruitment and development of these players.

However, there is now a doubt that the opening games will actually take place in La Manga because Spain's airport workers have confirmed a strike from April 21 to 24, affecting all flights in and out of the country.

Lightning squad: G Dockrell (capt), A Balbirnie, P Chase, S Doheny, G Delany, F Hand, T Kane, J Little, B McCarthy, K O'Brien, S Singh, J Tector, L Tucker.

Meanwhile, in a further statement of Ireland's upskilling and investment now they are a Test nation, four umpires have been given season contracts.

Mark Hawthorne, Alan Neill, Roly Black and Paul Reynolds will be full-time this summer and stand in the majority of inter-provincials, along with Mary Waldron, the lead women's umpire. She is joined on the representative panel by Laura Caughey, from Carrickfergus, who will officiate in Super 3s and youth matches.

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