Cunningham tips her Irish U25 girls to cause upset at Home Internationals
Ireland boss Mandy Cunningham admits she'll be gushing with pride this morning when her team walks out to face Scotland in the Women's Under-25 Home International Series at the City of Derry club.
Even though they approach the two-day event with more hope than expectation, Cunningham reckons the experience of playing against the cream of British bowlers will be of benefit to them.
It's hard to believe that Ireland's representative status at this level almost disappeared completely a few years ago due to the lack of talent.
But Cunningham and her team addressed the situation by visiting clubs all over the island. They then had a difficult job of whittling the team down to 16 players.
"We'll be the youngest side in the competition with an average age of 16 or 17," said Cunningham. "But we are not worried about that. There is a heck of a lot of talent in this side.
"We are not expected to win the title, so there is no pressure. I'll be urging them to enjoy every game. I genuinely think we can cause an upset along the way.
"A few years ago we struggled to field a team. We now have 27 girls involved, which gives the selectors a headache."
Cunningham is urging the bowling family to come out and cheer on the girls, adding: "We have players from all over, so hopefully the crowds back us.
"Chloe Watson, Megan Wilson and Courtney Meneely are the most experienced, but the two reserves, Lara Reaney and Katherine Houston, are only 13.
"This team will be together for quite a few years, so the experience of competing at this level will be a massive learning curve."
Meanwhile, 14-year-old Zoe Minish will wave the Ireland flag on her own in the British singles, facing Sophie Tolchard of England in the semi-final tomorrow afternoon.
Chloe Watson and Megan Wilson will be the local interest in the semi-final of the pairs against Scotland's Lesley Doig and Carla Banks.
Ireland: Rink 1: A McKee, C Wilson, S O'Neill, M Wilson; Rink 2: T Elder, E Dornan, B Whittle, C Meneely; Rink 3: Z Minish, L Cassells, T Millar, G McClean; Rink 4: JL Corscadden, C Montomery, C Watson, M Morrow.
Reserves: L Reaney, K Houston.
Today: Home International Under-25 Series: 9.30am: Wales v England; Ireland v Scotland.
2pm: Scotland v England; Ireland v Wales.
Tomorrow: 9am: England v Ireland; Wales v Scotland.
British Isles Singles semi-finals: 1pm: Y White (Wales) v M Kivlin (Scotland); S Tolchard (England) v Z Minish (Ireland).
Pairs: A Butten, M Thomas (Wales) v C Lenton, H Stevens (England); L Doig, C Banks (Scotland) v C Watson, M Wilson (Ireland).
Irish Bowling Association Senior Cup quarter-finals: Old Bleach v Whitehead; St James's Gate v Bangor; Ballymoney v Portrush; Banbridge v Ballymena.
Northern Ireland Private Greens League Division One: Belmont v Dunbarton, Ewarts v Ballywalter, Mossley v Falls.
Northern Ireland Bowling Association Division One: Dundonald v Balmoral, Divis v Dungannon, Donaghadee v Carrickfergus.
Northern Ireland Provincial Bowling Association Senior League: Dunluce v Letterkenny.