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Phil Simmons keeps faith in Ireland's old guard

By Ian Callender

The Ireland selectors have backed the tried and trusted for the first two one-day internationals of the new season, against Sri Lanka next month, with all 13 players part of the recent World Twenty20 squad which exited in the first round named.

More significantly, there is the possibility of National Coach Phil Simmons naming an unchanged team from the only ODI played during the winter, against the West Indies in Jamaica. That line-up, plus Andy McBrine and Alex Cusack, has been named en bloc for the games against the World Twenty20 champions in Clontarf on May 6 and 8.

Ireland's defeat in their last game, to the Netherlands at the World Twenty20 in March, when the Dutch chased 190 inside 14 overs, has been ignored with the selectors preferring to recall the 50-over games last summer when they had chances to win against Pakistan, twice, and England.

"We've resisted the temptation to make any changes, as the guys have been magnificent over the past few years," Simmons said of his squad. "We've turned in some fantastic performances against Full Members in recent times, but it's a reality that we still haven't recorded a major victory here in Dublin – although we seem to be getting closer every year.

"What better way to break that duck than with a win over reigning world champions?"

Craig Young, who spent the second half of winter with the Ireland squad but played only one of a possible nine games, is left out – along with James Shannon – with the pace bowling post-Trent Johnston entrusted to Tim Murtagh, who has started the season well with Middlesex, Max Sorensen and, probably, Stuart Thompson, although the Eglinton all-rounder was under-bowled (11 overs in eight matches!) in both the Caribbean and Bangladesh.

Andrew Poynter, after a successful return, is in line to play his first ODI on home soil for four years but there is no comeback yet for John Mooney, after he withdrew from the West Indies tour with a stress-related illness.

Ireland squad: W Porterfield (capt), A Cusack, G Dockrell, E Joyce, T Murtagh, A McBrine, K O'Brien, N O'Brien, A Poynter, M Sorensen, P Stirling, S Thompson, G Wilson

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