Irish Exiles Eoin and Joyce Hit Centuries
Byline: by JON COATES
IN FOUR weeks' time they will be back on the world stage, but fans of the Irish cricket team were subjected yesterday to a salty reminder of what they will be missing.
Three years ago Ed Joyce, a lefthanded batsman from Bray, was selected for England and thus rendered unavailable to his country of birth for a four-year period.
Rush boy Eoin Morgan, another fluent left-hander, is about to follow suit -- and yesterday both produced centuries to scorch the grass of county grounds.
A combined tally of 288 runs in the Friends Provident Trophy will do their reputations around the shires no harm, but it only heightens the fear that Ireland will be unreasonably hamstrung at the World Twenty20 next month.
Even without Joyce and Morgan in the line-up, Ireland head to England with a coherent chance of knocking out Bangladesh, or even India, en route to the Super Eight phase.
Imagine, then, what they would be capable of with the duo on board.
Morgan's remarkable, televised innings of 161 for Middlesex came off just 136 balls and surely hastened his receipt of a full England cap (they revert to one-day international combat with the West Indies at Headingley in nine days' time, and the red-head is in that squad).
More impressive than the power behind the 22-year-old's two sixes was the way he completely disorientated the Kent attack with his improvisation..
Scoring heavily with the reverse sweep, Morgan even changed his mind in the middle of one such shot and, as the ball threatened to run past his legs, brushed it round the corner for a single as if he was sweeping a road.
If Kevin Pietersen were to greet the TV cameras to such audacity it would be replayed on news bulletins from Sydney to Bangalore.
Eventually Morgan sliced a ball that was caught by a retreating third man at the second attempt, but he had subdued the Canterbury crowd and led Middlesex to a winning score of 322.
Down at Hove, Joyce enjoyed his second century in the competition as a Sussex opener, having left Lord's in search of a fresh start last autumn.
The former Trinity College student, still just 30 and hovering on England's outer radar, anchored Sussex to 313 with his 127 off 125 balls. …