Ireland contracts for pace duo Stuart Thompson and Craig Young

Stuart Thompson
Stuart Thompson is expected to push for a place in the World Cup squad

Ireland have handed promising north-west pace bowlers Stuart Thompson and Craig Young full-time contracts.

The Ulster pair are among 24 players given either full or part-time contracts by Cricket Ireland.

"With Trent Johnston retiring we've two bowlers with great potential available to us full-time," said performance director Richard Holdsworth.

"They will no doubt both be pushing for a place in the World Cup squad next year."

Alex Cusack, John Mooney, Kevin O'Brien and Max Sorensen have also signed full-time deals, meaning they are available to Ireland throughout the year, unlike those playing county cricket.

Nine of the top Irish players have agreed two-year contracts - Mooney, Kevin O'Brien, Sorensen, captain William Porterfield, Ed Joyce, Tim Murtagh, Niall O'Brien, Paul Stirling and Gary Wilson.

"There's no doubt that a key part of our success over the past seven years has been the move to professionalism," said Ireland coach Phil Simmons.

"We will now have 24 players on full or part-time contracts and a structure supporting the senior squad.

"For me, it makes such a difference as a coach to be able to work with players on a regular basis and this has been reflected in our dominance at Associate level.

"The composition of the contracted players is an indication of what we strive for in our teams. There is a delightful spine of experience as well as a number of very talented youngsters."