Middlesex bowler Murtagh keen to play for Ireland

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Updated: June 3, 2011

Middlesex seamer Tim Murtagh has said he would be keen to explore opportunities to play for Ireland. Murtagh, 29, qualifies to play through his grandparents’ heritage and has only featured for England’s Under-19 side.

In the week when sections of the Irish media have been wrapping the green flag around any soundbite emanating from our football players regarding playing for that side, the rise of the Irish Cricket team is causing a lot of second generation Irish in England to consider their cricketing options.

Following on from possibly the greatest one day game when we turned over England in the World Cup, Ireland are now a force to be reckoned with and the options open to coach Phil Simmons include looking at the likes of Murtagh.

He told BBC London 94.9: “I think I would be eligible for an Irish passport and be able to play.”Whether they’re keen or not I don’t know as I haven’t pushed it yet, but it’s definitely an avenue I’d look at exploring,” he added.

“I’ve got Irish grandparents and do have Irish blood in me. There have been a couple of enquiries but I’ve heard nothing back since.”

The interest came about after a chat with former Middlesex opener Ed Joyce who plays for Ireland but famously also played for the full England side. One of the big names of English cricket is now Eoin Morgan of course. As English as a bowl of coddle but who switched sides to pursue his career at a top level. With Ireland pushing for full test games, this option for international players should now start to reverse.

Murtagh went on, “I was away with Ed during the winter for the weekend with our partners.
“The topic just came up one night when we were sat in the pub, and he was asking about my Irish roots as I’ve got Irish grandparents.”

The seamer continued: “It’s up to the Irish Cricket Board and whether they’re interested in me, I’ve had some emails back and forth and I would qualify as both my grandparents were born in Ireland.”

The chance of playing an international tournament would be massive for me and something I’d find very hard to turn down. Murtagh also said that representing Ireland may be his best chance of tasting international cricket, after being overlooked by England in recent years.
“I’m coming up to my 30th birthday so realistically if I was going to play for England then that would have happened by now. “So the chance of playing an international tournament would be massive for me and something I’d find very hard to turn down.”

Ireland of course lost their last game to Pakistan by 5 wickets at Stormont. Paul Stirling’s 109 off 107 balls was the highlight after the visitors had skittled us out for 96 in the previous game.
Next up for the Green Army is a one day game in Belfast against Namibia.

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