CLONTARF

  • Captain: Joe Morrissey
  • Overseas player: Obus Pienaar
  • Players in Abraham (Obus) Pienaar (SA, overseas); Paul Ryan (N Kildare)
  • Players out John Mooney; Brad Barnes (SA)
  • Youngsters to watch David Delany; Andrew Vincent

Despite losing out in the title race to Leinster after leading the pack for so long, Clontarf had the consolation of lifting T20 trophies both domestically and at the inaugural all-Ireland.

Joe Morrissey is once again at the helm, and although John Mooney and Brad Barnes are two high profile departures, the club have recruited a superb all-round cricketer in South African Obus Pienaar.

"We’re in a good place at the moment," Morrissey told CricketEurope. "We’ve learned a lot from last season and have made a few adjustments accordingly.

"Unfortunately John Mooney has stepped down from the position of player/coach – his recent success with Afghanistan has meant that he couldn’t commit to us this year – we wish him well and have no doubt he’ll thrive in the professional environment.

"Instead of trying to replace John we’ve opted instead to shoulder the coaching and organisational responsibilities amongst ourselves. I think we’re probably the oldest side in the competition but there’s a lot of cricket knowledge there and in guys like Andrew Poynter, Conor Kelly and the reborn Shariful ‘Ropu’ Islam we have a really strong leadership group to take us forward.

"We’re delighted to welcome Obus Pienaar to Castle Avenue. We’ve been fortunate over the years to have had some overseas players whose legacy is still tangible around the club as much for who they were off the pitch as what they did on it. Obus has immediately fitted in with our culture and values - he’ll be a great asset as a player but also as a role model for the kids. I’m hopeful he will enjoy his stay with us and can leave his mark on Castle Avenue.

"At Clontarf we pride ourselves as being a family club, Bill Coghlan, a true-blue ‘one-club-man’, is back, hungry as ever at the top of the order. He’s really been the standard bearer for the club with the bat these past few seasons and will continue to lead us from the front.

"Other members of the one-club gang are Robert Forrest who will be looking to turn ‘occasional’ into ‘regular’ brilliance and David Delany who has shown what he’s capable of and is quickly becoming international class.

"Rounding out what is a very balanced team we have spin options in the wily Sameer Dutt and Paul Ryan who has returned from North Kildare as well as a number of seam bowling all-rounders.

"I think the Premier league will be a close fought battle again this year – there are plenty of very good teams and the influx of first class players will drive standards higher. We’ll be looking forward to defending our Leinster and All-Ireland t20 titles but we don’t particularly prioritise any one competition.

"What’s key for me, as captain, is that we enjoy playing every game and players can play with the freedom to express themselves when they get their chance. If we can do that, in my experience, we’ll get what we deserve."