Ireland have named their World Cup team for the fast approaching 2011 World Cup, completing the line up of the eight teams for the competition. Ireland waited until after their recent test match series with the UK to name the final team and during those three test matches they switched around between different members of their squad in order to try and find their best combination for the World Cup in July.
The final team features three veterans from the 2007 World Cup, two of who also played in the 2003 World Cup. Both Avis Wotton and Aidan McDonagh make it three World Cups in a row while Seb Chambers returns for his second, though at the age of 23 maybe the word “veteran” should not be used to describe him. Avis is joined by Dara Mangan, Joanne Lavery and Rona O’Dwyer in the ladies section while Aidan and Seb have Eoin O’Donnell and BJ Byrne for company in the men. The reserves are Aaron Power and Paul O’Leary for the men and Julie Gallagher and Aimee Keogh for the ladies.
The Irish team has good mix of experience and young talent in it, and indeed in players such as Seb Chambers a great deal of both. Their weak point against the UK in the last two years has seemed to be their ladies and this could be their achilles heel in the World Cup. Their men on the other hand could well present a good battle for any of the teams in the competition. They would have to be at long odds to claim the World Cup itself but they could well improve on the 6th place that they have secured at the last two World Cups. They face the UK, the USA and South Africa in their group and will probably need to defeat the USA and one of the other two to progress to the semi final stage. The South Africans will play in a similar style to them and that game could be a terrific battle, as indeed it was in 2007 when Charl Du Plessis was sent off for attempting to decapitate Seb Chambers with a polocrosse racquet. Charl isn’t in the South African team this time around but there will probably be other players ready to follow in his footsteps and the Irish themselves are never scared of a physical game.
The Irish face the UK again in three weeks time at the Northern Racing College near Bawtry in the UK in two more test matches, the last that both countries will play before the World Cup kicks off on the 8th of July at Onley Grounds Equestrian Centre in Warwickshire in the UK as well.