Trent Johnston believes the Ireland Women's squad announced today for the ICC World Twenty20 finals in Bangladesh can emulate the stirring deeds of their male counterparts and make a big statement on the global stage.

The 39-year-old became head coach of the women's team following his retirement from international cricket in December, and has already seen his young charges beat Pakistan in a Twenty20 encounter in Qatar last month.

Such is the competition and commitment in the women's game, Johnston says picking the final 14 for next month's finals in Bangladesh was an incredibly tough challenge.

"For me there are striking similarities to 2007, when we were preparing for the World Cup in the West Indies," said Johnston, who skippered Ireland to wins in that tournament against Pakistan and Bangladesh.

"The players are all amateurs and making a lot of sacrifices.

"We're doing a lot of weekend and early morning/night work at the indoor centres and outdoors too at YMCA. The girls were doing running sessions in the snow on Tuesday night, so there's no shortage of commitment there.

"They've worked incredibly hard this past few months and you get the feeling that this could be the start of something really big and exciting in women's cricket in Ireland. You just don't know where success could take the game.”

There are two changes to the squad that travelled to Qatar, with the inclusion of all-rounders Eimear Richardson and Kim Garth, who come in for batter Rebecca Rolfe and opening bowler Amy Kenealy.

Squad: Isobel Joyce (capt) (Merrion), Laura Delany (Leinster), Emma Flanagan (YMCA), Kim Garth (Pembroke), Jennifer Gray (YMCA), Cecelia Joyce (Merrion), Louise McCarthy (Pembroke), Kate McKenna (Merrion), Lucy O'Reilly (YMCA), Eimear Richardson (Leinster), Melissa Scott-Hayward (Merrion), Clare Shillington (Malahide), Elena Tice (Merrion), Mary Waldron (Malahide).

Ireland v Sri Lanka, warm-up, 20 March 
Ireland v India, warm-up, 21 March 
Ireland v New Zealand, 25 March 
Ireland v Australia, 27 March 
Ireland v South Africa, 29 March 
Ireland v Pakistan, 31 March 
Play-offs and final, 2-6 April