Stephen Doheny is no stranger to exploring new horizons, having played cricket in Bangladesh, Australia and South Africa.
While the 22 year-old may not need a visa for his latest cricket venture as he joins the NW Warriors, he admits to being excited at what will be his third province in his sixth season at interprovincial level.
Stephen Doheny has played for Munster Reds and Leinster Lightning
ďI havenít played much in the North West before, but obviously Iím helped by the fact that the cricket will be played on the two internationals grounds at Bready and Eglinton, so I will have an idea of the conditions,Ē began Doheny.
ďItís always a great place to play their cricket and the people are so passionate and knowledgeable about the game. Iím also helped by the fact that I know some of the squad from representative cricket so it shouldnít be too difficult a change.
ďIíve personally really enjoyed the whole interpro experience. Iím really looking forward to this season when the standard should be even higher. Itís great to be able to run shoulders with the best players in the country. As a whole the competition has gone from strength to strength, especially when the guys from England came back.
Stephen Doheny receives his Leinster cap on debut
ďIím moving to the Warriors, as wicket-keeping is an element of my game that Iím trying to push on. I feel it can help with selection going forward. Obviously Lorcan is number one with Leinster so the move gives me an opportunity.Ē
Warriors have a new coaching team in place, with Gary Wilson and William Porterfield now at the helm. There couldnít be a better duo as far as Doheny is concerned.
ďI didnít realise at the time of the move that Gary was going to be Head Coach, so that has worked out well as has being able to work on my batting with William Porterfield. I had a great time with Leinster but for me it was a no-brainer when the chance came.
ďGary has so much experience on the county scene and with Ireland for all those years and it will be ideal to tap into his cricketing brain. Who better to learn the ways to improve as keeper-batsman than him.Ē
Stephen was recently awarded a retainer contract with Ireland after a successful tour of Bangladesh, where he topped the Wolves run charts with 192 runs at 32.00. Despite the losses, he felt the tour was a major boost for the development of the squad.
Batting for Ireland Wolves: Pic Joe Curtis
ďIt was a real challenge there as some of us hadnít played for a long time so going from North County to there was quite a change. You could tell a lot of their guys had played a lot of recent cricket. It was certainly an eye opening experience for us and always a fascinating place to play cricket.
ďWe underperformed, and we are much better than the results showed. Despite the losses it was an invaluable learning experience and you canít beat tours and playing matches during the winter.
ďIreland Head Coach Graham Ford was out there. It was great working with him as heís coached some of the top players and teams in the world. We have very open lines of communication. Iíve been able to tap into his cricketing knowledge.
ďHeís been very clear and honest on what he wants from me, and itís been very enjoyable working with him. He strips things back and knows the technical side of things. At the same time he knows weíve got to where we are because we are good players and he doesnít over complicate matters. Heís good for me in that he seems to know exactly what to say at the right time.
ďIíve been working hard on my game this past few years, not just this past year with covid. Itís nice to get that recognition and it shows that Iím going in the right direction. Itís an opportunity to put your name in the hat but runs are the only currency that matters. Hopefully this season I can push on even further.Ē
Stephen Doheny and Neil Rock: Pic Joe Curtis
Doheny is currently studying computer science at DCU, but on a gap year he travelled to Australia to expand his game.
ďI benefitted from a five month spell in Sydney with Randwick Petersham as part of the exchange programme the Coogee-based club has with Cricket Ireland.
ďItís certainly one of the best places to play cricket in the world. I loved it, had a really great time, and helped me develop immensely.Ē
Closer to home, itís a season of new starts for him, as in addition to having a new province, he has a new club, leaving his beloved Rush for Merrion.
ďObviously it was a very difficult decision for me as Iím from Rush, as are all my family and friends. My whole life was orientated around there. Itís a move though which should help me.
ďPebbles (Neil Rock) was at Rush too and I didnít really fancy sharing the gloves. It was a bit of a statement of intent to show that I was willing to do whatever needed to be done to move my game on.
ďThe reason why I opted for Angelsea Road was that I was familiar with the club and the ground. I went to CUS school, who played their home games there.
ďI know loads of people from the club and really like how they go about things. They are so friendly and that was another contributing factor. It wasnít easy to leave but hopefully the move pays off for me.Ē
While it may be a while for Doheny to make his debut for Merrion, he swaps the blue of Leinster for that of the Warriors as the first 50-overs cup game gets under way at Pembroke on Saturday (10:45am).