Ireland has kept their cards close to their chest in preparation for their U19 World Cup appearance in South Africa, training internally. The ICC Women’s Under-19 T20 World Cup, which runs from January 14–29, is now being prepared for by the Ireland Under-19s Women’s cricket side, who are currently in South Africa.
The ICC is expecting that this new competition will provide young women from all over the world with an opportunity to demonstrate their talent and further the development and acceptance of women’s cricket. One of the faces of the first competition is 17-year-old Amy Hunter, a world record holder who has already made 24 senior international appearances.
Hunter, who is captaining her team at the historic event, broke Mithali Raj’s record for being the youngest centurion in an ODI against Zimbabwe in 2021.
Hunter scored 121* (127) in just her fourth ODI, shattering the former India captain’s record by 205 days on the day she turned 16. As a result, Ireland went on to win the away ODI series. Hunter, the squad’s veteran captain, will probably bat third to help the team get through the innings.
Hunter was “honoured” to get the leadership from Glenn Querl, the team’s coach.
Querl further added, ” (The Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup) is an important opportunity as it bridges the gap between underage cricket and senior international cricket. It gives the players the chance to perform on the world stage and gives them a chance to better understand what international cricket and World Cups are all about.”
Ireland’s U19 team has concentrated on internal training ahead of the campaign because they automatically qualified as Full Members; as a result, it is unclear how they will compare against their group rivals.
The team travelled to South Africa early in the new year to get their bearings abroad after holding a training camp at North County with national meet-ups every weekend since mid-September.
Georgina Dempsey, an 18-year-old all-rounder with nine international appearances in each of the white-ball formats, joins Hunter in the squad as a senior international. With her medium speed, she has nine international wickets and has only been out once in six ODI innings. The wickets of Alyssa Healy and Tahlia McGrath in a T20I spell of 2/35 against Australia in Bready and a score of 45* in an ODI against a potent South Africa attack are among Dempsey’s career highlights.
The 18-year-old all-rounder Joanna Loughran, who consistently performs for Leinster Cricket, is another cricketer from Ireland who comes from a prosperous family. Her great-grandfather Sam Crawford was also an Irish international and is credited with taking the legendary WG Grace’s wicket.
Another Leinster product is Siúin Woods, while 16-year-old Merrion bowler Niamh McNulty is among a handful of athletes who are on the Under-17 pathway and likely qualified to compete in future editions of the competition.
A Super Six qualifying is by no means out of the question, but warm-up games against Pakistan and Rwanda in the week preceding the event should give a better indication of where Ireland stand in the context of their group.
In this T20 tournament, 16 teams were divided into four groups of four. The Under-19s Women’s T20 World Cup opened with automatic admission for eleven full-member countries, including Ireland. One team from each of the ICC’s five regions competed in regional qualification tournaments to fill the remaining five seats.
Group C includes Indonesia, West Indies, New Zealand, and Ireland Women.
In the Super Six phase, where teams are divided into two groups of six, the top three from each group advance. The three teams from Groups A and D will make up Group 1 while the three teams from Groups B and C will make up Group 2.
The top two teams from each group advance to the semi-finals, which will both be held on January 27 at Potchefstroom’s JB Marks Oval.
On January 29, the championship game will be held there.
Ireland Under-19 Women’s Squad:
Amy Hunter (c), Siúin Woods (vc), Zara Craig, Georgina Dempsey, Rebecca Gough, Abbi Harrison, Jennifer Jackson, Johanna Loughran, Niamh McNulty, Aimee Maguire, Kia McCartney, Ellie McGee, Julie McNally, Freya Sargent, Annabel Squires.
Alice Walsh, Aoife Fisher.
• 15 January: Ireland v West Indies (North West University; starts at 8am)
• 17 January: Ireland v New Zealand (JB Marks Oval; starts at 8am)
• 19 January: Ireland v Indonesia; North West University; starts at 8am)
• 20 January: Fourth place playoffs (If Ireland qualifies)
• 21-25 January: Super 6 Stage matches (If Ireland qualifies)
• 27 January: Semi-finals (If Ireland qualifies)
• 29 January: World Cup Final (If Ireland qualifies)