Belfast Telegraph

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Campbell happy with role of underdog on their home mat

By Alex Mills

Ireland bowls supremo Colin Campbell believes there is no better time to end a trophy drought than in front of home supporters.

His young team approach today's British Isles Under-25 Home International Series with more hope than expectation, but with a real desire to scribble their name on the Joyce Brimble Trophy for the first time.

The big plus for Campbell is that there is only one change to the team that performed in Newport last season - Andrew Johnston is recalled to the side. So, with the boys a bit older and wiser, the boss reckons they are equipped to make an impact over the two days at Parkgate.

"The lads have worked really hard in the build-up to the Championship," he said. "It's a very young group. We benefited from not having to reshape the side in terms of losing players because of the age barrier."

Home advantage comes around only once every four years and Campbell insists it's important his team cashes in on the backing of local supporters.

"We'll approach the tournament as big underdogs, but that suits us," he added. "Obviously, we must take advantage of playing on our home carpets and having the backing of the crowd. That will be something we are not used to."

Another boost for Ireland is that the Kirkwood brothers, Stephen and Robert, Ryan Cavan and Jamie Watson are all due to make their senior international debut in Scotland next month.

"Although we are a young side, we still have a bit of experience running through the team," added Campbell. "Hopefully, all their hard will be rewarded. We've never won the indoor title . . . it would be a great time to start."

Ireland: A Coleman, C Marshall, A McKeown, S Kirkwood. S Barkley, S Martin, R Bell, R Cavan. D Mills, S Coleman, S Beggs, J Watson. A Johnston, D Bodles, M Albert, S Kirkwood.

Reserves: A Booth, R McElroy, J Millar.

Programme: Today: 9.30am: Ireland v Scotland; Wales v England. 2.30pm: Ireland v England, Wales v Scotland.

Tomorrow, 9am: Ireland v Wales; Scotland v England.

Belfast Telegraph

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