Maguire leads Irish charge
Ireland go in search of their first Women's Home International title for seven years over the next three days at Hillside on the Lancashire coast, WRITES CHRIS SMART.
They came close to lifting the trophy at Whitchurch in South Wales last September, but a narrow defeat to Scotland ended their hopes.
They get an early chance of revenge as they face Scotland today in the opening match of the round-robin series, while England begin against Wales.
Ireland will be led by Lisa Maguire from Slieve Russell.
Her twin sister Leona is not in the line-up as she will instead be competing in the Austrian Ladies Open having been invited to take on the pros.
Louise Coffey, Gillian O'Leary and Charlene Reid are survivors from 2010. Karen Delaney is recalled to the side, while three players will be making their senior debuts -- Paula Grant, Castleroy teen Chloe Ryan and Emma O'Driscoll.
It was not especially pretty, but Fergal O'Brien was in good spirits after ousting Peter Ebdon from the Shanghai Masters in China.
O'Brien overcame former world and UK champion Ebdon 5-3 to reach the last 16. The often painstaking contest, featuring two of professional snooker's most ponderous potters, dragged on for a little over four hours.
World No 35 O'Brien, who in between grinding it out had interludes of fluency as he compiled breaks of 62, 50, 64 and 73, was delighted to claim such a notable scalp.
"I'm relieved, it was a long and tough match and when you lose one of those it can be tough to take. Peter wasn't at the top of his game, but he's always difficult to beat," said the 39-year-old Dubliner.
Eoin Morgan will miss the remainder of England's NatWest Series campaign against India because of a shoulder injury.
The batsman has suffered a recurrence of an injury to his right shoulder which first affected him during England's Ashes tour last winter.
The Irishman, who captained his adopted country for the first time against his native Ireland in Dublin last month, felt discomfort after the NatWest International Twenty20 against India at Old Trafford.
He, nonetheless, played in the first match of five in the ongoing NatWest Series, which resulted in a rain-induced no-result at Chester-le-Street on Saturday.
Last night's game was reduced to 23 overs per side and England captain Alastair Cook steered his team to victory with an unbeaten 80 off 63 balls as they reached their target of 188 with five balls to spare.