Niall McDonnell called up by Ireland for Pakistan games

George Dockrell
Dockrell is out because of the shoulder injury he picked up in the World Cup

Strabane's Niall McDonnell is the only new face in the Irelandexternal-link squad for the two one-day internationals against Pakistan later this month.

McDonnell, a 31-year-old school teacher, scored a century for Ireland A against the MCC last year.

George Dockrell is unavailable because of injury while the only other absentee from the World Cup is Andre Botha who has retired from Irish duty.

The games take place at Stormont in Belfast on 28 and 30 May.

"I can honestly say that I can't find a word to describe how I felt when Peter Gillespie rang me," said a delighted McDonnell.

"I suppose it was a mixture of excitement, raw nerves and a little trepidation at being involved at this level.

"It's a dream come true in many ways and the prospect of batting with the likes of Paul Stirling, William Porterfield or Ed Joyce is some motivation.

"I can't underestimate the role Adi Birrell and particularly Jeremy Bray have played in my development.

"Jeremy is so focused on his new role as one of Cricket Ireland's high performance coaches that his determination and enthusiasm just rubs off on everyone he works with.

"Just being involved with this Ireland squad is an opportunity that I fully intend to make the most of."

Ireland coach Phil Simmons said that this team would prepare well for the two contests.

"We'll train hard in the build-up to the game, and hopefully the conditions at Stormont will suit us.

"The county players have been playing some excellent cricket, and most of them seem to be in really good form which is encouraging for Irish cricket.

"Everyone is aware of the importance of these games, not just in terms of ranking points, but also in the bigger scheme of things with a decision pending on a qualification tournament for the 2015 World Cup.

"Two more strong performances against Pakistan will help in that regard."

Ireland shocked Pakistan at the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean and they have not met in a 50-overs contest since the clash in Jamaica.

Ireland: W Porterfield (capt) (Warwickshire), A Cusack (Clontarf), T Johnston (Railway Union), N Jones (Civil Service North), E Joyce (Sussex), N McDonnell (Strabane), J Mooney (North County), K O'Brien (Gloucestershire), N O'Brien (Northants), B Rankin (Warwickshire), P Stirling (Middlesex), A Van der Merwe (YMCA), A White (Instonians), G Wilson (Surrey).

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