A LEADING Irish cricket team was bowled over by Wearside training facilities.
Leinster Under 19s visited the University of Sunderland this week to make use of the campus training facilities and play against the North East Universities squad.
Despite being a good team and beating their English counterparts 2-1, Leinster youth teams do not have access to elite fitness testing, so they used Sunderland equipment to find out more about their individual players’ abilities.
With international players like George Dockrell and Niall and Kevin O’Brien progressing through the Leinster youth teams, it is hoped this information could catapult some of their current youngsters on to the international stage in the future.
The Leinster squad were tested by University of Sunderland lecturers, Lisa Board and Ivor Harkin, and technician, Stuart Dixon, through a range of activities and the data collected will now be used to help develop the Irish players’ skills, as well as help students and lecturers at the university in their research.
Ivor Harkin, sports lecturer at the university, said: “The tests we have performed with the Irish team are exactly the same used at the very elite level, so the data collected is precisely what is required at international standard.”
Nigel Pyne, who coaches Leinster Under 19s, said: “The testing will provide us with exactly the sort of information we need and can take back. We can then work with the players to help develop their skills.
“The facilities available at the University of Sunderland are second to none.”
Leinster’s Player of the Tournament during their three series games in England, Cormac McLoughlin, 19, said: “This testing provides the whole squad with a greater knowledge of where we are as athletes and this can only help me as a player and aid me in my development. With cricket still developing as a sport in Ireland, and with little testing back home, it’s great to come to Sunderland and get to find out more about how I can improve and hopefully become a successful cricketer.”