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Stormont must wait as Ireland's first Test will be held at Malahide

 

By Ian Callender

Tickets go on sale today for Ireland's first Test against Pakistan and, as expected, Northern Ireland residents will have to head south for the historic match.

The clash, between the 12th and seventh-ranked teams, will be hosted by Malahide, the venue for all Ireland's top games since 2013 when the visit of England for a one-day international attracted 10,000 people.

Cricket Ireland will be happy with even close to half that on May 11 next year, the first day of the five-day match when Ireland make their entrance onto the most prestigious stage in the sport.

CI chief executive Warren Deutrom, welcoming the announcement more than a month after the match was confirmed, said: "We are delighted that Malahide has agreed to host this historic game against Pakistan.

"Even in its short history of hosting our matches, the club has already given us some wonderful memories, and we trust that May 11 and its ensuing days will provide many more."

Stormont, or indeed Bready, the other international ground in Northern Ireland, are still hoping they won't have to wait too long to host their first Test but, despite positive noises coming out of Afghanistan last month indicating a willingness to travel here next summer, Cricket Ireland said yesterday that nothing has been confirmed.

A spokesman said: "We cannot consider further Tests at home for 2018 until we know fully our funding position for the year, which will not be until the New Year, hopefully sooner."

Meanwhile, the Ireland squad completed their first two days' training at the ICC Academy in Dubai ahead of next week's Inter-Continental Cup clash with Scotland.

All 14 players will be involved in a two-day warm-up game against the UAE on Friday and Saturday.

Tickets for the Test match are on sale at www.ticketmaster.ie from 10am.

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