Irish cricket’s wait for a permanent stadium is set to end after plans for an oval were included in the Sport Ireland campus Abbotstown master plan revealed on Thursday afternoon.
The impending construction of a stadium should mean that a facility will be in place ahead of the 2030 T20 World Cup when Ireland will share host duties with England and Scotland.
Cricket Ireland already has a high-performance centre in Abbotstown which features turf practice facilities, though their introduction has taken longer than planned.
Talks have been ongoing between the governing body and Government since 2018 over the building of permanent infrastructure. The awarding of World Cup fixtures to Ireland, a decision which was made last year, looks to have accelerated the development of a cricket stadium at the Sport Ireland complex.
The stadium will be located in the complex’s Southern Parkland next to the high-performance centre and an ‘athletics and cricket plaza’, details on which are, as of yet, sparse. A timeline for the new developments has not been put in place but given the multiyear bedding-in period required for newly laid cricket pitches, construction would need to start in the coming years ahead of the deadline imposed by the 2030 World Cup.
The stadium’s capacity also remains unclear.
Ireland’s men’s and women’s team currently play home fixtures at club grounds in Dublin, Belfast and Derry with temporary stands put in place depending on demand for tickets. Last June, Malahide Cricket Club hosted just under 10,000 fans per match when the men’s team hosted India.
Plans are in place to still use Malahide for certain internationals even after the new stadium is built, largely due to its popularity with fans given the ease of access from the city centre. There are talks of redeveloping the pavilion at Malahide to ensure international standard changing rooms and a media facility in order to cut the cost of temporarily hiring such infrastructure.
On public transport links to Abbotstown, Sport Ireland said: “The Sport Ireland campus is currently accessed predominantly by private car due to poor public-transport connectivity. A key component of the master plan vision is to facilitate a paradigm shift away from the car and towards more sustainable modes of public transport.”
The significant announcement caps a notable month for the game in this country after the men’s successful World Cup campaign and the women’s series victory away to Pakistan.