Belfast Telegraph

Gary Kelly wants to repeat Ireland's heroics

By David Mason

Ireland skipper Gary Kelly believes his team can turn back the clock in the British Isles Under-25 Home International Championships at Belmont over the weekend.

The young Irish side celebrated their finest hour in the tournament four years ago on home soil when they lifted the trophy for the first time in the country's history, sparking scenes of wild celebration at the City of Derry club.

Ballymoney man Kelly now wants to give the home supporters another two days to remember.

"It's was a fantastic occasion and a great breakthrough for the country, winning the Series for the first time," said Kelly.

"We played superbly well and fully deserved the win. I'll never forget the celebrations at the finish. We now have a chance to repeat that, but we are under no illusions of how difficult it will be.

"But we are playing on home soil and will have the backing of the home supporters, so we must make the most of that advantage."

The Irish will have five new faces on show – Dunbarton's Jack Moffett, Gerard Robinson (Salisbury), Thomas McClean (Sydenham), Andy O'Keeffe (St James's Gate) and Lisnagarvey's Scott Jess, while Bangor's Matthew Crawford has earned a recall.

Manager Michael Nutt, taking charge for the first time, insists the new caps are in on merit.

"The team performed well in Wales last year and ended on a high by beating Scotland.

"So we have something to build on. We have a little added advantage this time as we are at home. Hopefully, the supporters will come out and give the team some backing and encouragement. It's also my first Series in charge – I'm really looking forward to it."

Ireland Under-25 team

Rink 1: A Johnston (Dromore), C Snoddy (Larne), R Allen (Portrush), G Kelly (Ballymoney).

Rink 2: D Witherspoon (Larne), D Atkinson (Larne), A Tennant (Ballymoney), T Crawford (Belmont).

Rink 3: S Shields (Ballymena), J Moffett (Dunbarton), D O'Kane (Letterkenny), A Coleman (Ballymena).

Rink 4: G Robinson (Salisbury), T McClean (Sydenham), R Bell (Mossley), R Kirkwood (Old Bleach).

Rink 5: G Pierpoint (St James's Gate), A O'Keeffe (St James's Gate), J Byrne (Crumlin), S Leonard (St James's Gate).

Rink 6: S Jess (Lisnagarvey), W Boyd (Donaghadee), C Dorman (Donaghadee), M Crawford (Bangor).

Reserves: M Albert (Balmoral), C Brogan (Ballymoney), M Mason (Coleraine), C Mullen (Forth River).

Programme

Tomorrow morning, 9.30am: Ireland v Wales; Scotland v England.

2.30pm: England v Ireland; Wales v Scotland.

Sunday, 9.30am: Scotland v Ireland; England v Wales.

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