Ireland have named a 14-member squad, to be led by Laura Delany, for the Women’s World Cup 2017 Qualifier in Sri Lanka in February.
Louise McCarthy is the only addition to an otherwise unchanged side that lost 1-0 to Bangladesh in a rain-affected series at home.
Ireland are in Group A for the qualifier, along with India, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Thailand. Group B comprises South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Scotland and Papua New Guinea.
The top four sides will book a place in the World Cup, while the fifth and sixth-placed sides are assured of One-Day International status for the next cycle.
Ireland, ranked tenth in the world, beat South Africa in both a T20 International and an ODI for the first time this year, and took T20I honours against the visiting Bangladesh side. Kim Garth, their vice-captain, was named in the ICC team of the year.
“As a squad we have really progressed over the last 12-18 months and are hoping to carry this momentum through to 2017,” said Delany, who had been named captain after Isobel Joyce stepped down following the World T20 2016. “Some of the squad have been based in the southern hemisphere (working with Australian and New Zealand domestic sides) and I have no doubt they will take with them the skills they have learned into the qualifiers.”
Aaron Hamilton, the coach, added, “The Dublin based players have prepared well throughout the last three months and there are six players from the squad playing in Australia at present, which will provide them with confidence and valuable game time.
“There will be a training camp at La Manga Club in early January, and that will form a key part in our preparation. This will allow the Dublin based players to get quality outdoor training time before we go to Dubai where the whole squad will meet for a pre-tournament camp.”
Ireland play a warm-up game against Bangladesh on February 5 before they begin their campaign against Zimbabwe on February 7.
The squad: Laura Delany (capt), Kim Garth, Cecelia Joyce, Isobel Joyce, Shauna Kavanagh, Meg Kendal, Amy Kenealy, Gaby Lewis, Robyn Lewis, Ciara Metcalfe, Louise McCarthy, Lucy O’Reilly, Clare Shillington, Mary Waldron.
February 7: v Zimbabwe (MCA, Colombo)
February 8: v Sri Lanka (NCC, Colombo)
February 10: v India (PSO, Colombo)
February 11: v Thailand (CCC, Colombo)