Ireland will play England in an historic series when the sides meet in two One-Day Internationals next year.
The sides will face off for the first time on English soil, with the first meeting scheduled for Bristol on Friday, May 5, with the second international two days later at Lord’s on Sunday, May 7.
“It’s absolutely massive for us to have the opportunity to play against England in a series,” said Ireland captain William Porterfield. “What makes it extra special is the fact that one of the games is at Lord’s – where every cricketer dreams of playing.
“Teams travelling to play England are also coming over here now to play series too so hopefully that trend will continue. We are getting more and more international fixtures with games against Pakistan, Afghanistan, Australia and South Africa still to come this year, and England, Bangladesh and New Zealand confirmed already for next year.”
Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom welcomed the series saying:““We would like to extend our sincere thanks to ECB for their support in bringing this series to fruition and, in particular, giving us the opportunity to play a two-match series in England for the first time. Rounding the series off at Lord’s will, of course, make this truly memorable for everyone involved. “
“We have set out our stall to make cricket a mainstream sport in Ireland and perhaps one measure of that is for the Blarney Army, whether living in Ireland or England, to arrive in their thousands to paint the Home of Cricket green in front of a worldwide TV audience.
“It’s a real chance for Irish cricket to prove itself a worthy addition to the sport’s economy as well as its competitive elite.”
ECB Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison said: “This series will represent a historic stepping stone in the development of Irish cricket and give further impetus to the growth of the game in Ireland as a whole.
“There’s always been friendly local rivalry between Ireland and England on the sporting field and this is a great opportunity for cricket matches between the two countries to enjoy even greater status and profile.”
ECB Director, England Cricket Andrew Strauss, who led England in Ireland’s inaugural ODI back in 2006, added: “We’ve been hugely impressed by the major strides Irish cricket has made in the last decade and all their players will be savouring the opportunity to play a full one-day international at the Home of Cricket for the first time, as well as taking on England at Bristol.
“Ireland’s past performances in ICC Cricket World Cups have shown just how competitive they can be in the 50-Over format; they will definitely provide our one-squad with a tough test ahead of next summer’s ICC Champions Trophy and I’m sure both these games will be great cricketing occasions with a strong Irish presence in the crowd at each venue.