Ireland Men’s interim coaching structure announced
DUBLIN – Cricket Ireland has today announced an interim senior coaching structure for the Ireland Men’s squad that will be in place until the end of February 2022.
The creation of the new interim coaching structure was precipitated by the departure of former Head Coach Graham Ford last week. The new coaching structure will guide Ireland Men through the USA and West Indies tour, as well as the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in February next year.
The interim structure will be:
• Head Coach: David Ripley (three month contract)
• Assistant Coach: Gary Wilson (three month secondment)
• Bowling Coach: Ryan Eagleson (three month role)
David Ripley is the former Head Coach of Northamptonshire County Cricket Club and former county cricketer for Northants. He succeeded the late David Capel as the club’s head coach in 2012 and recently stepped down from the role in September. Under his tenure, Northants won the domestic Twenty20 title in 2013 and secured promotion into Division One of the County Championship at the end the same campaign. The Club won the T20 title again in 2016 and he has been widely praised for his innovative thinking in the shortest format of the game, and achieving silverware with limited resources.
He worked with Paul Stirling when the Irish international signed a T20 Blast contract with Northants in 2020, and is a former teammate of current Chair of National Men’s Selectors, Andrew White.
Ripley’s playing career with Northamptonshire began in 1982 – aged only 16 – when he made his debut for the Second XI. Between 1984 and 2001 he played 306 first-class matches, scoring 8,681 runs (with nine centuries) and claimed 752 dismissals behind the stumps. He also played 281 List A matches in Northamptonshire colours and was a member of the side that won the NatWest Trophy in 1992.
Ripley is transitioning into a new coaching role within Northants, with the club allowing him to take up this short-term role with Ireland.
Gary Wilson is the current Head Coach of North West Warriors and will be seconded from the North West Cricket Union until the end of February.
Ryan Eagleson is the current Performance Coach with the Shapoorji Pallonji Cricket Ireland Academy and Head Coach of the Ireland Men’s Under-19s squad. He will move to the national bowling coach role for the next three months.
BEN SMITH FINISHES ROLE
Ben Smith has completed his consultancy role with Cricket Ireland after five years. The former Leicestershire coach joined Cricket Ireland in 2016 and has worked with the Ireland Men’s squad in a batting and fielding coach capacity. Smith will move on to a new role in the UK.
HEAD COACH ROLE ADVERTISED
Cricket Ireland has begun the global search for a new full-time National Men’s Head Coach – initially on a three-year contract. A full job description and information on the application process can be found on the Cricket Ireland website: https://www.cricketireland.ie/about/vacancies.
David Ripley said:
“I am honoured to be joining Cricket Ireland for the next three months. It’s a really exciting opportunity and one I intend to make the very most of it, giving Andrew Balbirnie, the players and the staff all my support and experience. The cricket ahead looks exciting and qualification for the T20 World Cup is our priority.”
Richard Holdsworth, High Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, said:
“We are delighted to have agreed terms with David for the next three months. With white-ball cricket the immediate priority, and T20 cricket particularly, it is pleasing we can bring in an experienced and innovative coach who has achieved success in the shortest format. We have no doubt he has the calibre to step up to international cricket, and his experience was seen as an important consideration ahead of our T20 World Cup Qualifier campaign in February.
“He is the only head coach in the Northants’ history to have guided the team to two major trophies, the T20 Blast title wins of 2013 and 2016, and he also guided the club to two promotions to the top flight of English cricket. Fortunately for us, he is currently between roles with his Club and eligible to work in Ireland. It was really important we had someone who could spend time here in Ireland with the squad before it departs in just a couple of weeks – rather than just being with the squad on tour – so having someone both ready to take on the role and immediately available was essential. David will start in the role on 6 December before heading out with the squad to the USA on the 16th.
“We would like to thank Northants for their flexibility in allowing David to make this move, and to David for agreeing to a prompt start ahead of the upcoming tour.
“To support David, we have brought Gary and Ryan into important support staff roles – both performed well in coaching capacities during the recent T20 World Cup tournament, and their knowledge and experience within the Irish set-up will complement David well. We would like to thank the North West Cricket Union for their support and offering the secondment opportunity to Gary - and it’s encouraging to see the continued progression of Boyd Rankin within the Warriors’ coaching set-up.
“We did consider a number of candidates for this interim role, but with an important T20 World Cup Qualifier on the immediate horizon, we felt an experienced head coach with proven success in the format would provide us with a short-term benefit. Our succession plans foreshadow our intention to promote home-based coaches in the future – and we are pleased with the development and progress of numerous coaches in our system.
“Our congratulations and heart-felt thanks go to Ben Smith as he steps away after a five-year role with Cricket Ireland to take up a new position in the UK. Ben’s contributions were commendable but often unseen. During his early years he worked primarily as our on-the-ground coach working with UK-based senior players, and spent many weeks and months every year travelling with the senior squad on overseas tours and during home series. Ben will be missed greatly by all, but we wish him the very best of luck with his new role in England.”