Mark Adair has been named captain of Northern Knights this year in succession to Harry Tector who will join his club team-mates at Leinster Lightning.

That is one of the major changes in the 12-man core squads which have been confirmed by Cricket Ireland for this year’s inter-provincial series which will again involve only white-ball cricket.

Adair has been chosen ahead of Ireland vice-captain Paul Stirling to lead a squad which includes only four internationals, including Waringstown’s James McCollum who has not played for Ireland since January 2020.

Lisburn slow left armer Matthew Humphreys has been rewarded for his performances at the Under-19 World Cup with a place in the Knights squad, along with Ruhan Pretorius who qualifies this year, as does Graham Hume who is a member of an unchanged North West Warriors squad and PJ Moor who will again play for Munster Reds.

Kevin O’Brien, who turns 38 in March, would appear to have a long way back into the Ireland team having requested a move from Lightning to the Reds with his place taken in the Leinster squad by Greg Ford.

South Africa-born fast bowler Liam McCarthy, who made his debut for the Reds in the final match of last season, is promoted to the core squad this year and will play alongside left arm paceman Mikey O’Reilly of Malahide and David Delany, who has left the Knights after turning down an Ireland contract.

With Ireland almost certain to have to wait at least another year before they host a Test match, the inter-provincial Championship, which has not been played since 2019, will be in mothballs for another summer.

Meanwhile, Ireland will play in only their second ever Plate final at the Under-19 Cup today when they face UAE for the consolation prize.

Andrew Balbirnie’s side reached the final in 2010, only to lose to Bangladesh, but this time Ireland will go into the game as favourites to create history, after beating Zimbabwe on Saturday by eight wickets in the semi-final at Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad.

Captain Tim Tector, who retains his place in the Lightning inter-pro squad, shared an unbroken partnership of 159 with Instonians’ Jack Dickson to see Ireland to their victory target of 167 with 18 overs to spare.

Man of the match, however, was opening bowler Muzamil Sherzad who became the first Ireland player to take five wickets at an Under-19 World Cup since Greg Thompson in 2008. Humphreys gave Sherzad good support with figures of three for 32.

INTER-PRO SQUADS - Northern Knights: M Adair (capt), R Adair, M Foster, L Georgeson, M Humpheys, J Lawlor, J Manley, J McCollum, R Pretorius, N Rock, P Stirling, B White.

North West Warriors: A McBrine (capt), S Doheny, S Getkate, G Hume, G Kennedy, R Macbeth, W McClintock, N McGuire, C Olphert, W Porterfield, J Wilson, C Young.

Munster Reds: T Kane (capt), M Commins, C Campher, D Delany, G Delany, M Frost, M Ford, F Hand, L McCarthy, PJ Moor, K O’Brien, M O’Reilly.

Leinster Lightning: G Dockrell (capt), A Balbirnie, P Chase, G Ford, G Hoey, J Little, B McCarthy, D O’Halloran, S Singh, H Tector, T Tector, L Tucker.