Pete Johnston is relishing the opportunity to mould the next generation of Irish cricketers following the announcement of the 2021 intake.
Twenty players have been chosen and it's among the youngest groups in the eight year history of the Academy, with an average age of 18.
Johnston and his coaches boast an impressive conversion rate, with 17 of the 57 players chosen in the past four years going on to senior selection.
“It’s really encouraging to see so many Academy players make it into the senior squad, and I expect some more aren’t far away," said Head Coach Pete Johnston.
"The majority of those 17 players have gone onto pick up professional contracts and many are currently making fine starts to their careers, which is a delight to see.
"I believe that sort of strike rate provides this new Academy cohort additional motivation to develop, and use the opportunity to push their game forward.
“The strength of the Academy is in the coaches we have such as - Ryan Eagleson, Albert van der Merwe, Andrew White, Ian McGregor and through working with our other excellent science and medicine staff we have created an environment that gives the players the support and experiences needed to fulfil their potential as they work on preparing for playing international cricket on the World Stage, while also improving their life skills.
"I would expect that all of the group will feature in either the newly revamped Inter-Provincial Series and/or in the new Emerging Inter-Pro competition this season. It’s certainly an exciting time to be a young cricketer in Ireland with opportunities like those to look forward to.
“You can see by the breakdown of skill sets in this intake that we are covering all bases to help broaden the depth for future Irish international teams. There are eight fast bowlers, eight batters (including two batting-wicketkeepers) and four spinners – three of which are wrist spinners.”
Leinster based players dominate the intake, with 14 of the 20 playing for Dublin clubs. There are two from the NW, one from Munster, and three from the NCU.
2021 IRELAND ACADEMY SQUAD
Aaron Cawley (Phoenix), Theo Dempsey (Phoenix), Stephen Doheny (Merrion), Jamie Forbes (YMCA), JJ Garth (Pembroke), Zubair Hasan Khan (Cork Harlequins), Seamus Lynch (Terenure), Jamie MacNulty (Merrion), Kyle Magee (Brigade), Nathan McGuire (Rush), Oliver Metcalfe (Instonians), David O‘Hallorhan (Malahide), Mikey O’Reilly (YMCA), Conor Olphert (Bready), Neil Rock (Rush), Muzamil Sherzad (North Kildare), Tim Tector (YMCA), Mitchell Thompson (YMCA), CJ Van De Walt (Carrickfergus), Ben White (CSNI).