Cricket

Ireland to face Scots in Belfast series

Skipper Laura Delany is delighted at the prospect of pulling on an Ireland shirt again

Ireland women will play their first match since September 2019 when they play Scotland in a four-game T20 series at Stormont in late May.

Ireland women endured a run of series and tour cancellations in 2020 because of Covid-19 – which included scheduled games against the Scots.

The Belfast games will take place on 23, 24, 26 and 27 May.

“I’m absolutely delighted at the prospect of wearing the Irish shirt again,” said skipper Laura Delany.

“We have worked hard over the winter period, now we need games to assess where we are at.”

Scotland, who also have not played since September 2019, will have new head coach Mark Coles taking charge of his first matches after being appointed in February.

“It’s been a long wait for the players and I know they can’t wait to get out there again,” said Coles.

The Stormont series will be Ireland’s first home games since May 2019 and will see the team playing at the Belfast venue for the first time since 1997.

“It’s important for the development and growth of the women’s game that our fixtures are spread across the country,” added Ireland captain Delaney.

“To play at Stormont will not only be a fantastic experience for the players but will be a boost for the women’s game in Northern Ireland.”

Former Ireland batsman Ed Joyce is coach of the country's women's team
Ireland coach Ed Joyce says a return to competitive cricket is vital for his side

Ireland are scheduled to compete in T20 World Cup and 50-over World Cup qualifiers in August and December and coach Ed Joyce believes a return to competitive cricket is vital for his side.

“The Scots will be a good challenge, and ICC ranking points will be on the line, so we’re very much gearing up for a competitive series,” said the Ireland coach.

“The players’ application and attitude over the last frustrating 18-20 months has been amazing, so this series is a welcome relief to the group.

“In addition, we’re also hopeful of having a full and varied fixture list for the team before both sets of qualifiers later this year.”

It’s not yet clear whether spectators will be able to attend the Belfast games.

Cricket Ireland will continue to work with Sport Ireland, Sport Northern Ireland and the Sport Expert Group to ensure all fixtures comply with the Covid-19 protocols in place as the season rolls out.

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