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Ireland can make big impact in Under-25s, says Booth



Irish captain Neil Booth

Irish captain Neil Booth

Irish captain Neil Booth

Ireland boss Neil Booth admits he is filled with optimism ahead of the Under-25 Home Internationals that get under way at Llandrindod Wells this morning.

Booth takes charge of the team for the first time and, although they have finished in the bottom slot for the past two years, he believes they can cause an upset this time.

He'll have five new caps on show for their opening game against the 2015 champions Wales. Cathal Gillen, Mark McKeown, Cameron Gaw, Ryan McKeown and Oran Breen all get their first taste of international action at this level.

The big bonus for Booth is the fact that Aaron Tennant and Terry Crawford return to the side - they missed out last season in Scotland.

"They are two experienced players that will certainly be a big asset to the younger members of the side," said Booth.

"The lads who have come in are there on merit. It's a young side. We'll be going there to give a good account of ourselves."

Ireland's finest hour in this tournament was back in 2010 when they lifted the title for the one and only time on home soil at the City of Derry club and, even though they haven't been in the top two since, Booth reckons the current crop of players have a chance of winning.

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"It's always difficult when you come up against the might of England and Scotland," he added.

"But it's about learning to compete with these teams. We'll be looking for consistency and maintaining the level of performance.

"I believe we can cause a shock or two over the weekend."

The Irish face England in the afternoon session before they line out against the Scots tomorrow.

Ireland: Rink 1: D Mills, J McBride, J Burne, D Atkinson. Rink 2: S Barkley, C Gillen, R Bell, R Kirkwood. Rink 3: A Johnston, M Albert, M Jones, W Boyd. Rink 4: M Hastings, J Moffett, R Cavan, T Crawford. Rink 5: R McKeown, JP Fahy, M McKeown, A Tennant. Rink 6: C Gaw, A McKeownk J Moffett, S Kirkwood.

Today, Wales v Ireland: (R Owen v D Atkinson, S Roff v R Kirkwood, D Salmon v M Crawford, R Jackson v T Crawford, R Thomas v A Tennant, J Davies v S Kirkwood).

Wales v England: (N Kitchen v C Milne, R Atkins v J Banks, C Cinato v D Gormley, A Walton v G Blair, S Steel v J Fleming jnr, P Martin v P Kane jnr).

Wales v Scotland: (R Thomas v J Fleming jnr, J Daview v P Kane jnr, R Owen v C Milne, S Roff v J Banks, D Salmon v D Gormley, R Jackson v G Blair).

Ireland v England: (A Tennant v S Steel, S Kirkwood v P Martin, D Atkinson v N Kitchen, R Kirkwood v R Atkins, M Crawford v C Cinato, T Crawford v A Walton).

Tomorrow, Wales v England : (D Salmon v C Cinato, R Jackson v A Walton, R Thomas v S Steel, J Davies v P Martin, R Owen v N Kitchen, S Roff v R Atkins).

Scotland v Ireland: (D Gormley v M Crawford, G Blair v T Crawford, J Fleming jnr v A Tennant, P Kane jnr v S Kirkwood, C Milne v D Atkinson, J Banks v R Kirkwood).

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