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Ireland contracts for seventeen

Cricket Ireland have awarded 17 central contracts for the 2013 season.

The list includes five top-tier 'A' deals for domestic players, a further eight 'B' contracts which predominantly cover the country's LV= County Championship players and a new 'C' band for those currently in full-time education.

Max Sorensen has been elevated to the A bracket alongside the established quartet of Trent Johnston, John Mooney, Alex Cusack and Kevin O'Brien.

County cricket regulars George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Tim Murtagh, Niall O'Brien, William Porterfield, Paul Stirling and Gary Wilson are joined by Andrew White in the B group.

The final category consists of up-and-coming prospects Peter Chase, Tyrone Kane, James Shannon and Stuart Thompson.

Boyd Rankin, Nigel Jones and Albert van der Merwe are all absent having announced their retirements from Ireland duty last year.

National coach Phil Simmons said: "There's no doubt that a key part of our success to date has been the move to professionalism.

"It makes such a difference as a coach to be able to work with players on a regular basis and this has been reflected in our dominance at Associate level over the past five or six years.

"The composition of the contracted players is an indication of what I strive for in my teams. There is the spine of experience as well as a number of very talented youngsters.

"While immediate results are paramount, it's always good to be thinking ahead and these contracts offer the younger guys some security as they look to build their careers."

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