CricketEurope takes a look at how the Irish contingent have performed in games under the radar in the early part of the season.

While the first part of the season has seen many of the Irish party fall out of first team favour, there have been some very impressive performances by them in second XI cricket, which suggests a return to first-class duty may not be too far away.

Irish skipper William Porterfield took his frustrations out on the Kent attack this week in their 2nd XI friendly scoring a superb 118 to give the Bears selectors a timely reminder of his capabilities.

Left-arm spinner George Dockrell was another putting his hand up by taking 5 for 17 against Devon on Monday and followed that up with 2 for 37 against Exeter.

Andrew Balbirnie has attracted the Middlesex selectors attentions with half centuries in pre-season friendlies against Sussex and Somerset last month to push him up the Lord's pecking order.

His county colleague Paul Stirling hasn't managed to get on the field yet due to injury.

Niall O'Brien followed up his unbeaten 53 against Northants in a friendly game with 91 in a Leicestershire 1st v 2nd XI match which augurs well for the forthcoming campaign.

Graeme McCarter played for Gloucester Seconds against MCCYC and Glamorgan bowling steadily taking 2-23, 1-7 and 1-42.

The game against MCCYC saw him dismissed by fellow Irish U19 international Shane Getkate who has retained his place on the Lord's based scheme for 2014. Getkate, who wintered successfully in Australia finished with 3 for 27 in that Gloucestershire game, and 2 for 18 at Shenley earlier this week.

Nathan Waller also made an excellent start in his quest to claim a county cricket contract. The Northern Knights player scored 108 from 109 balls (13 fours, 4 sixes) as Sussex 2nd XI drew a three-day game against their Lancashire counterparts.

On this form it mightn't be too long before he's playing in the Sussex 1st XI alongside their skipper Ed Joyce.

Patrick Tice and Ben Wylie have both been in action for Cambridge University with Knights left-arm spinner Wylie taking 2 for 26 against Exeter while Tice's best performance was 25 in a 50 over friendly.