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Delighted Ireland aim to Lord it over England

By Ian Callender

Ireland have made it to the Holy Grail - they will play a one-day international at Lord's next May, the second game in a two-match series against England.

Cricket Ireland yesterday confirmed the fixtures which will take place at Bristol on Friday, May 5 and two days later at the Home of Cricket.

They replace the one match which had been provisionally arranged for Malahide in April but Cricket Ireland were not interested in a match in Irish conditions so early in the season and this compromise is a certain winner for both parties.

England have always been reluctant travellers to Ireland but now they have two more home fixtures and Ireland have a first ever two-match series against the nearest Full Member nation.

As soon as the games were announced there was a wave of interest and it is certain many Irish supporters will travel from home and abroad, with the added attraction that the games will be played over a weekend. There will also be live television coverage.

Ireland captain William Porterfield, welcoming the matches, 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 used to be regular visitors to Lord's with a game against MCC every other year and they also played Middlesex in the one-day county competitions.

The last game they played there was in the C&G Trophy in May 2006 when Middlesex won by nine wickets, chasing 184 in just 24 overs with a certain Ed Joyce scoring 95 from 74 balls.

Joyce will be the only survivor from that match next year, an Ireland team that was captained by Trent Johnston.

Andrew Strauss, who captained England in Ireland's inaugural ODI at Stormont in 2006, is now the ECB Director of Cricket and he also welcomed the series.

"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," he said.

"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-day 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," Strauss added.

Ireland had already confirmed a tri-series, at home, against New Zealand and Bangladesh for next May and those dates are expected to be confirmed shortly.

Meanwhile, North West Warriors have made just one change from the team which drew this week's inter-provincial championship game against Northern Knights for tonight's T20 against holders Leinster Lightning at Eglinton (5pm), with William McClintock available again to replace Ryan Hunter.

Lightning are set to give a debut to Clontarf batsman Robert Forrest and have recalled Kenny Carroll for Sean Terry who is playing for Northamptonshire in their County Championship match against Sussex.

England take on Sri Lanka in a one-day game at Edgbaston today.

North West Warriors: A McBrine (capt), R Allen, J Barnes, RL Dougherty, A Gillespie, D Hyatt, W McClintock, R MacBeth, D Rankin, J Robinson, D Scanlon, O WIlliams

Leinster Lightning: J Anderson (capt), Yaqoob Ali, K Carroll, P Chase, G Dockrell, Rob Forrest, D Joyce, T Kane, E Richardson, S Singh, M Sorensen, L Tucker.

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