Richardson earns reward with call for England clash
North County all-rounder replaces Cusack in Ireland squad for big game in Malahide
Eddie Richardson has excelled with bat and ball for Leinster Lightning in the interprovincial series this summer. Photograph: Brian Little/Inpho/Presseye
Following a summer where he has bloomed into a genuine all-rounder, Eddie Richardson was yesterday rewarded for his efforts with a place in Ireland’s 13-man squad for the RSA Challenge One-Day International against England at Malahide on September 3rd.
The 23-year-old from North County Cricket Club takes the place of Clontarf’s Alex Cusack, who will miss the highlight of the domestic summer to a back injury.
A look at Richardson’s figures show a player who has dominated at both club, and on the step-up to Inter-Provincial cricket, scoring 960 runs at an average of 60 and taking 60 wickets at under 17.
He will now look to transfer that form to international level and even if he misses out against England, Richardson is in line to be blooded in the two World Cup qualifiers against Scotland in Belfast, the first of which takes place three days afterwards.
“It’s a dream come true for me really, I can’t wait to pull on an Irish jersey,” said Richardson, who is a first cousin of Ireland all-rounder John Mooney. “I’ve worked really hard on my game, especially the last two years and it’s fantastic that the selectors have rewarded this with senior recognition.
“The difference this season is that I’ve been scoring runs as well as taking wickets. I’ve been bowling decently this past few years but to get into the Ireland team you have to be doing both, as it’s got so many talented all-rounders.”
Ireland coach Phil Simmons said Richardson fully deserved his opportunity.
“He’s been very consistent at all levels and the selectors were especially impressed by his form in the RSA Inter-Provincial Series. His volume of runs and wickets has warranted selection. Eddie is a great advertisement for all Irish youngsters. He’s shown that if you put in the hard yards there will be rewards.”
Richardson is the only new name in the squad, which contains seven county-based players and eight who have more than 100 caps.
And while England’s new left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan endured a nightmare on his England Test debut against Australia at The Oval , Simmons will be delighted with a fine return to form for southpaw George Dockrell, who took a season’s best six for 96 against Warwickshire in the Championship match at Taunton.
William Porterfield was named at 12th man for Warwickshire in that game after a poor run of form with the bat, but he will skipper Ireland against England for a game which is on course to be a 10,000 sell-out.
Cricket Ireland have been busy marketing the Fortress Malahide idea and although all the battlements are not yet in place, cricket fans will get a taste for what it will look like in 11 days in tomorrow’s RSA Irish Senior Cup Final at the ground.
Those attending the meeting of last year’s beaten finalists Merrion and fellow Leinster side Clontarf will be seated in an 1,800-capacity temporary stand.
Bob Kerr Trophy
After losing out to The Hills last year, Merrion will be looking to add to the title they won in 2010, while Clontarf are out to try and win their first Bob Kerr Trophy after losing to Lurgan in their only final appearance in 1990.
’Tarf have waltzed their way through Division Two following their relegation last year, and have been able to focus on the All-Ireland title after already securing promotion back to the top flight.
Eoghan Delany’s side have been very impressive in their run to the final, culminating in a five-wicket victory over YMCA in a rain affected semi-final at Claremont Road.
An unbeaten 80 from opener Bill Coghlan was the key innings from Clontarf that day and Delany is hopeful that the competition’s top scorer will make the starting line-up that has been hit by the loss on Cusack.
Their real strength has come in their bowling, where they have restricted their five opponents to date to an average score of under 140, with openers Joe Morrissey, with 15 wickets, and Zander van der Merwe (nine) proving a very useful new-ball pairing.
Merrion, though, have been the form team in this year’s competition, winning away to Waringstown in the quarter-finals and in Stormont against Civil Service North in the semi-finals.
Ireland international John Anderson has averaged over 140 with the bat and the battle between Merrion’s top order against the new ball could determine the outcome of the final.
IRELAND SQUAD (for ODI v England, Malahide, September 3rd): William Porterfield (Warwickshire, capt), George Dockrell (Somerset), Trent Johnston (YMCA), Ed Joyce (Sussex), John Mooney (North County), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union), Niall O’Brien (Leicestershire), Eddie Richardson (North County), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Andrew White (Instonians), Gary Wilson (Surrey).