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Former Ireland cricket star recruited by Afghanistan

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Former Ireland international John Mooney could soon be plotting the downfall of his native country. The 35-year-old Dubliner has been recruited by his former Ireland head coach Phil Simmons who is now in charge of Afghanistan.

Mooney retired from international cricket following a career in which he won 182 caps helped propel Irish cricket into the sporting mainstream as part of the team that achieved that famous win against Pakistan at the 2007 ICC World Cup in Jamaica.

Mooney has already dipped his toes into the coaching waters with Denmark and as an underage coach here in Ireland. His work with up and coming young Irish cricketers has come in for a lot of praise.

Simmons and Mooney were always very close and as a player the all-rounder was greatly admired by his new boss.

Afghanistan, who were also awarded Test status last summer, and Ireland have been drawn in different groups for the World Cup qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe this March. Simmons' men are in Group B and will take on the hosts, Scotland, Hong Kong and the WCL Division 2 runners-up.

Ireland's Group A looks a tougher proposition as they have been paired with West Indies, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea and the winners of WCL Division 2 and if they progress along with Afghanistan, the two nations could meet in the Super Sixes.

Meanwhile; Ireland made it four wins from four to win their tri-nation cricket series in the United Arab Emirates - after beating Scotland by 24 runs in Dubai. It followed their other victory against the Scots and two as well against the hosts.


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