Softball Ireland is to host the USA Junior Women’s team for a Fastpitch challenge at Donnybrook Stadium in Dublin on Monday, June 24th.
This will be the World number one’s first time to play in Ireland and the game will be Ireland Head Coach Melanie Cunningham’s last chance to fine tune the team ahead of the European Championships and Olympic Qualification tournaments commencing on June 30, 2019.
“We are excited that USA Softball have agreed to play Ireland as part of the final leg of their European tour,” said Softball Ireland President Colum Lavery.
“The USA are to softball what the All Blacks are to rugby and Brazil are to football. Hosting the game will be a challenge as we are building a ‘pop-up’ diamond on the back pitch of Donnybrook Stadium, and we are extremely grateful to Leinster Rugby for making the stadium available to us.”
Lavery’s day job as Member Services Manager with World Rugby may have helped gain the connection that opened that door but regardless it is a great example of a helping hand from one sport to another.
“This will be a great sporting occasion and for those who can make it on the night, it is an opportunity to see two elite women’s team playing an Olympic Sport which in turn will hopefully inspire young girls to try something new,” he added.
“We will have a fan village at the venue on the night for people to try out elements of the game. We want the game to promote the sport in Ireland from the elite level through to the recreational player.”
“This game forms a key part of our preparations for the European Championships and Olympic Qualification tournament in June and July 2019,” said Ireland Head Coach Melanie Cunningham.
“If you want to be the best, you have to play the best, and taking on a team consisting of current NCAA Division One players and Division One committed players will be a great test for our team.”
“We hope to see as many women and young girls attend, or watch the game on our stream, as possible to inspire the next generation of players – if she can’t see it, she can’t be it.”
“Preparations for the European Championships have been progressing well, but unfortunately the first time we will get the full roster together in over a year will be Saturday, June 22, 2019, as we don’t receive any funding to run camps or support our travelling costs.”
Read More: Softball Heroics as Ireland Take Silver