Let's turn Lord's green! Ireland to play historic series against England next year

The two countries will meet next May.

Ireland last played England in May 2015.
Ireland last played England in May 2015.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

IN A MOVE described as ‘an historic stepping stone’, Ireland will play their first ever two-game series against England on away soil next May.

The first match will take place in Bristol on 5 May, with the second One-Day International two days later at Lord’s.

It will be the first bilateral series between the two countries and the second fixture will represent Ireland’s first ever ODI at the Home of Cricket.

It is another major boost for Ireland as they look for further opportunities to help in their bid for World Cup qualification via the ICC’s rankings table.

“It’s absolutely massive for us to have the opportunity to play against England in a series,” Ireland captain, William Porterfield, said

“What makes it extra special is the fact that one of the games is at Lord’s – where every cricketer dreams of playing.”

Ireland have met England in seven previous ODIs, with England winning five – but one of Ireland’s most notable victories came over the near neighbours at the 2011 World Cup.

Under a previous agreement between the two countries, England visited Dublin for a one-off game every two years but the announcement of this series is breaking new ground.

Cricket Ireland have worked desperately hard over the last few years to engage with Full Members to add meaningful fixtures to their schedule.

India Cricket WCup England Ireland One of Ireland's most famous wins came against England in 2011. Source: AP/Press Association Images

“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,” Cricket Ireland CEO, Warren Deutrom, said.

“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.”

Today’s development is further welcome evidence of the willingness of opposition nations to host Ireland, just a week after Sri Lanka played a two-game series in Malahide.

With games against Afghanistan, Pakistan, Australia and South Africa before September, Ireland’s schedule is beginning to fill out and 2017 is looking even busier.

A tri-series with New Zealand and Bangladesh has already been confirmed for next summer while talks are taking place over the possibility of Zimbabwe coming here.

Every game is crucial for Ireland as they look to automatically qualify for the 2019 World Cup by finishing inside the top eight in the world rankings.

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Cricket - Royal London One Day International Series - Second One Day International - England v Australia - Lord's The Home of Cricket awaits. Source: Anthony Devlin

A dearth of fixtures previously led to frustration with few teams deigning to make a perfunctory stopover either north or south of the border.

However, times are changing and Ireland’s recent success on the pitch and the tireless work off it is finally being recognised.

“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,” ECB CEO, Tom Harrison, commented.

“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.”

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