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Historic day for Irish cricket as 15 Tests and new ground on way

 

By Ian Callender

Ireland will have 60-65 home internationals, including 15 Test matches, over the next six years, yesterday's Cricket Ireland Annual meeting was told.

At the historic AGM, the first as a Full Member nation, Aideen Rice was installed as the first woman President and a provisional timetable was given for the new dedicated stadium at Abbotstown which could host international fixtures as early as 2022.

The list of international fixtures, which make up the Future Tours Programme (FTP) 2019-2023, was agreed by the 12 Test nations at a meeting in Kolkata this month and will be unveiled this week, with a first Test match against England expected in 2021.

Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom told the meeting that more than 16,000 tickets have already been sold for the next month's Test match against Pakistan in Malahide and the two Twenty20 internationals against India in June, which has already beaten the record number of tickets sold in the previous best year of 2013, when 10,000 attended the one-day international against England.

Deutrom reported that 5,900 tickets have been pre-sold for the second T20 against India at Malahide on June 29, with 65% of the 8,555 tickets for the first game two days earlier also sold.

There has been a 60% take-up for the historic first day of the Test match on May 11 and almost half the available tickets have been sold for day 2, so "plenty of room for walk-ins on the day", the CEO added.

Depending on funding, building at Abbotstown will begin next year and, allowing for the usual two to three years for grass pitches to bed in, stage one for games would be 2022 with media, seating, hospitality and floodlights to be added in stage two.

Brian Walsh, the outgoing president, signed off a "very enjoyable year" when he admitted the only thing better than being among the 25,000 at Lord's for Ireland's ODI against England was presenting the All-Ireland Under-11 Cup to his grandson.

After announcing North County's David O'Connor as CI President for 2019-20, he handed over the chains of office to Aideen Rice to launch her historic year.

Rice was responsible for the youth section at Dublin YMCA from 1999-2016 and was the Cricket Ireland Volunteer of the Year in 2012. When she received a phone call from Cricket Leinster president George Dockrell last year, she thought she was going to be asked to serve on another committee. The offer of the presidency left her stunned.

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