ED JOYCE was full of praise for teenagers Aimee Maguire and Amy Hunter at the end of a difficult tour of the West Indies that saw Ireland lose all five completed matches in St Lucia, culminating in a 3-0 loss in their T20 international series.

“It’s no secret that we need to improve in the spin bowling department and Aimee has come in for this tour and has played far more than we would have envisaged,” coach Joyce said.

“You never know how young players are going to react coming into the senior team, but she seems to have taken to it like a duck to water.”

Left-arm spinner Maguire is 16, a year younger than established batter Hunter who has added wicketkeeping to her cv after stand out performances behind the stumps in the last ODI and three T20s.

“Amy did a good job, she was very tidy,” Joyce said.

“Mary Waldron is still a fine cricketer, and she may well come back in for the Australia games this month, but Mary’s in the later stages of her career and it’s important to have a back up, not only looking to the future but also in case of injuries.

“Also with Amy keeping it gives us the option of playing an extra specialist batter or bowler.”

The third T20 on Saturday evening followed a very similar course to the second, with Ireland falling just short of a run a ball in totalling 116-9, the West Indies easing to victory by eight wickets and Hayley Matthews taking the Player of the Match award.

The West Indies skipper completed a clean sweep of awards after removing Gaby Lewis, lbw, with her first ball, taking a hat-trick to ensure no late rally from the Ireland batters and then making 48 as her side crossed the winning line with 11 balls to spare.

While Matthews was the clear difference between the sides, collecting 135 runs and eight wickets in the three-match T20 series, Ireland should have set a higher target after Hunter and Orla Prendergast added 66 for the second wicket.

The momentum of the game changed when Hunter was unluckily run out for 44 from 35 balls by deflected drive at the non-striker’s end, and when Prendergast was caught for 40 only seven runs were added in the last three overs.

“Matthews was outstanding - she’s a top class player,” Joyce said. “But take her out of the West Indies side, and there isn’t too much between the two teams.”