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Johnston's exit has hit Leinster's trophy bid hard

By Ian Callender

If Leinster Lightning are to go one better than last year and claim a clean sweep of trophies, they must do it without coach Trent Johnston. The former Ireland captain has taken up the position of assistant coach at New South Wales Blues and will return home to Australia on September 11, before the final two one-day inter-provincials of the season.

Johnston also misses Lightning's final three-day championship game against Northern Knights at Waringstown on Tuesday week as he continues to fulfil his duties as coach of the Ireland Women's Team, who are at the European Division One championships in Rugby School that week.

The Women's side are also in action this weekend so Jeremy Bray will assume Johnston's role tomorrow when the Newstalk Twenty20 series concludes at Pembroke with Lightning needing to win both games, against the Knights and the North West Warriors, to retain their T20 crown.

If Warriors win what is set to be a winner-take-all game in the afternoon match then they will lift the trophy, which would be a remarkable turnaround for a team which didn't win a match in the tournament last year.

Lightning are still without Kevin O'Brien, who is playing in the Caribbean Premier League, but international John Anderson returns after injury.

For the first time the Knights, with nothing to play for, can field five internationals, after the debuts last week by Chris Dougherty and Nick Larkin.

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