Hall heroics spare Irish blushes
JOSH HALL was the last-gasp hero as Ireland squeezed past the USA with one wicket and one ball to spare yesterday to begin their U-19 World Cup qualifying campaign with the narrowest of wins at Clontarf.
Hall, a late replacement in both the squad and starting line-up, struck the penultimate ball of a thrilling contest past mid-on to save the blushes of the tournament favourites.
Pembroke seamer Barry McCarthy was the star with the ball, taking 3-32 as a strong USA side were restricted to 177-9 from their 50 overs. Hall in his more familiar bowling role took 1-25.
The Irish reply began with the loss of three quick wickets and when skipper George Dockrell was caught for 29, they were 86-6 in the 25th over.
Adam Coughlan and Graeme McCarter added a crucial 46 for the seventh wicket. McCarter was stumped for 35 but top-scorer Coughlan looked to have swung the game before he was lbw for 49 with only three runs needed.
Hall, who came into the side late when Shane Getkate pulled out during the warm-up, kept his nerve wonderfully, nudging a couple of singles before finding the ropes.
Ireland's second match in the 10-team round robin is against Afghanistan at North County today.
Scoreboard in factfile