Historic day as Ireland secure Test match status
Ireland will be playing Test match cricket in the near future after being elevated to Full Members of the International Cricket Council by a unanimous and historic vote at the AGM of the world governing body in London.
Ireland and fierce rivals Afghanistan successfully applied to be upgraded after years of domination below the very top level and will now play Test series against each other and Zimbabwe, as well as the occasional one-off against bigger teams like Australia, India and South Africa.
In anticipation of the Boys in Green joining the club of now 12 nations, England had already set aside dates to host Ireland at Lord's in 2019, while a first home Test is expected to be staged at Malahide next summer.
'It's fantastic news for all involved with Irish cricket," said Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom. "It's a great fillip for the game as we strive to make cricket a major mainstream sport in the country."
Elevation will also be a great fillip to Cricket Ireland's coffers with funding from the ICC at least doubling from its current €2.3m a year, enabling the expansion of women's cricket as well as the men's A team and domestic competitions.
Among the delighted reaction on social media last night, former captain Kyle McCallan tweeted: "Had to pull the car over. Can't see through the tears. Today the dream has come true. Congrats to everyone involved."