Jeremy Lawlor on his Ireland ambitions plus goals with Knights and Carrick
It will be a week of firsts for Jeremy Lawlor as he prepares to make a potential Northern Knights debut this morning against Leinster Lightning before a maiden competitive outing for new club Carrickfergus over the weekend.
Lawlor’s move to Carrick from Dublin-based Phoenix was the first major transfer ahead of the new season when announced last September.
The 25-year-old, who was born in Cardiff but holds an Irish passport, has previously been on the books at Glamorgan and played in last season’s Inter-Provincial Series for Munster Reds.
Now relocated to Belfast, Lawlor is part of a star-studded Knights line-up that will be looking to start their season on a winning note when they travel to Pembroke to take on defending champions Lightning.
He will likely take a spot in the top-order and the all-rounder is looking forward to getting under way.
“I’ve settled in really well,” he said. “I really enjoy Belfast as a place.
“I didn’t know too much about it before and had only been up to train with ‘Jonty’ (Simon Johnston) a couple of times, but I’ve moved here full-time now and really enjoy it.
“The Knights are a great group and ‘Jonty’ is top-drawer as well with the way he runs things.
“The thing that hit me straight away was the level of competition and how strong the team is.
“It’s great to see that there is competition for places and that’s only going to make players better.
“The training facilities at North Down have been outstanding and I couldn’t get over how good those training wickets were.
“Scotty (Irvine) comes in to help out and ‘Eagy’ (Ryan Eagleson) is there as well, so there are guys that are there to help you work on anything you want.
“It’s great to have that freedom and have guys there who want to work hard.”
Lawlor has played in 12 First-Class matches, scoring 405 runs with a high score of 81 - and he’s determined to make the most of every chance he gets with the Knights.
“For me, it’s just about taking the opportunity,” he added. “The problem with setting scoring targets is that there are so many variables in cricket and things can often change.
“I want to help win as many games as possible.
“If you’re doing your best to win matches with a quickfire 50 or a match-winning century, they are the things that get noticed.”
Lawlor, who travelled to Bangladesh with the Ireland Wolves earlier this year, is part of a new-look Carrick panel who have also brought in Graeme McCarter and Neil Rock, while welcoming back overseas professional Jacques Snyman.
After a disappointing season last time out, in which they failed to win any of their seven Twenty20 league games, the club will be looking to make amends.
Michael Gilmour’s men start with a home LVS Twenty20 Cup clash against North Down on Saturday and Lawlor is excited for the season ahead at his new home.
“It (the move) happened in a bit of a roundabout way,” he said. “A guy I knew from Wales got in contact with me about Carrickfergus but at the time I was settled on staying in Dublin.
“It was only when I spoke to ‘Fordy’ (Graham Ford) and worked out playing for the Knights I thought I’d go to Carrick.
“I spoke to ‘Eagy’ and he sold the club to me.
“When I started training with the Knights I spoke to ‘Eagy’ a bit more and they were the best fit for me with the players they had brought in and where they wanted to go as a club.
“They have Snyman back over, who was a huge player and signed ‘Grum’ (McCarter), so they were looking to go forward.
“They are a sociable club too and felt it was somewhere I could fit in...so once you have all of that it’s a no-brainer.
“It’s a lovely ground with great wickets so I’m looking forward to playing for them.
“That’s going to be exciting because they have a slightly different look to the team this year and they have ambitions for what they want to achieve this year too.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the club and everybody I’ve come across.”
Longer term, Lawlor has ambitions of playing on the international stage and that was his main motivation for making the move across from Wales.
He is under no illusions that he will have to put the performances in but is ready to work hard in order to make his dream become reality.
“I went to Bangladesh and I would have hoped to do better personally,” he added. “As a batter, it’s a lot more temperamental and you’re going to go through good and bad patches.
“The ambition for me is to play for Ireland and that’s why I moved over here – I would be lying if I said anything different.
“It’s about doing well for the Knights and every time I play at club level too...I want to put big performances in.”
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