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Provincial side hands debut to Quinn for IBA Inter-Association Championship opener

By David Mason

John Quinn will make his Provincial debut in tonight's IBA Inter-Association Championship opener against the Private Greens League at Belmont.

The big Letterkenny man, who has an impeccable record on the short mat circuit, is the only new face on show for the team that lifted the title by the narrowest of margins last season.

Quinn's inclusion helps offset the Provincials' disappointment of losing Alan Paul, who moved from Ballymoney to Dunbarton for the new outdoor season.

In fact, the former international will tonight make his PGL debut against his former buddies.

"John Quinn had a super trial," said Provincial selector Jackie Smyth. "He certainly deserves his first start.

"We've had to reshape the team quite a bit as we are missing Colin Hogg, who is recovering from illness, while Derek Smith is taking a year out.

"We also, of course, lost Alan Paul. But the inclusion of Quinn is a big boost, plus the fact that Nicky McCaw and David Gaile have been recalled to the team."

Smyth admits his boys face a tough start in their opening title defence.

He added: "The worrying aspect for us is the fact that we are notoriously slow started. Indeed, we have lost three of our last five Friday night games.

"The PGL are always difficult opponents, but we have to focus on picking up as many points as we can before Saturday's double header against the NIBA and the Bowling League of Ireland."

Meanwhile, the NIBA will be targeting a positive start tonight when they face the tournament's outsiders, the Bowling League of Ireland, also at Belmont.

IBA Inter-Association Championship

Tonight (all games at Belmont): NI Private Greens League v NI Provincial Bowling Association.

Tomorrow morning: NIPGL v BLI; NIPBA v NIBA.

Tomorrow afternoon: NIBA v NIPGL; BLI v NIPBA.

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