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My Ireland lads can step up to the plate: Booth

 

By Alex Mills

Ireland boss Neil Booth will ask his young charges to come of age in the British Under-25 Home International Bowls Championships that get under way at Belmont this morning.

Booth has been forced to reshape his squad after losing no fewer than seven players from last season's team - they finished runners-up to Scotland - because of age restriction.

"Teams in this tournament come in cycles and this is very much a new cycle for us," said Booth. "We came so close to winning the title last year, losing out in our final game.

"In contrast, this is very much a young group of players, who will be together for three or four years, which is a bonus. It's difficult to know where they are at in terms of a title challenge because the other countries have also lost players from last season. In saying that, the three other nations have a vast pool in reserve."

The Irish will have Adam Stratton, Jordan Rankin, Ryan McElroy, Colum O'Brien, Keelan Nelson and Billy Gibson on show for the first time, while Jamie Watson is recalled to the side.

"I'll simply be asking all the boys to put your hands up and tell me you belong at this level by turning in big performances," added Booth.

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