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Ex-Ireland star Mooney to be in opposition camp for upcoming World Cup qualifiers

The former all-rounder has joined Phil Simmon’s Afghanistan coaching team.

Mooney retired in 2015 after playing in three World Cups for Ireland.
Mooney retired in 2015 after playing in three World Cups for Ireland.
Image: Barry Chambers/INPHO

FORMER IRELAND ALL-ROUNDER John Mooney will take his next step on the coaching ladder when he assumes the role of fielding coach with the Afghanistan national team for the forthcoming ICC World Cup qualifiers.

Mooney, who retired from international cricket in December 2015 after winning 182 caps, links up with former Ireland coach Phil Simmons, who was appointed as Afghanistan head coach last month.

The 35-year-old, regarded as one of the finest out-fielders in the game during his playing career, previously worked with the Danish national team but this appointment will be his first position with a Test-playing nation.

Mooney will be part of the Simmons’ Afghanistan coaching ticket for March’s World Cup qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe, with 10 teams — including Ireland — set to vie for the final two berths for England 2019.

Afghanistan have been drawn in Group B alongside hosts Zimbabwe, Scotland, Hong Kong and the WCL Division 2 runners-up, but will face Ireland in the Super Sixes provided both countries progress from their groups.

Ireland have been paired with West Indies, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea and the winners of WCL Division 2 in Group A, and open their campaign against Netherlands on Sunday 4 March.

Graham Ford’s side will head into the tournament brimming with confidence after recording their sixth successive One-Day International win this morning as they sealed victory in their desert tri-series with UAE and Scotland.

Batting first, Ireland equalled their highest ODI total of 331 thanks to half-centuries from Paul Stirling and Niall O’Brien to record a 24-run win over Scotland in Dubai.

Ireland’s focus now turns to the crucial World Cup qualifiers, before the inaugural Test match against Pakistan from 11-15 May in Malahide.

Ireland 331/6 (50 overs; P Stirling 74, N O’Brien 51, A Balbirnie 47, K O’Brien 46, S Singh 45, G Wilson 40*; S Whittingham 3-58, S Cameron 2-64)

Scotland 307/9 (50 overs; M Jones 74, M Leask 59, C MacLeod 58, M Cross 33, G Munsey 30; G Dockrell 2-43, B McCarthy 2-67, P Chase 2-78)

Ireland win by 24 runs

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