Category: Fast Pitch

Updated COVID-19 Hub

Softball Ireland is pleased to announce that the COVID-19 Hub has now been updated for the 2021 season. The COVID-19 Hub is accessible from the ‘Resources’ tab above or by clicking here.

The latest updates to the COVID-19 Hub include:

  • Updated Return to Play Policy for 2021
  • A Risk Assessment Template that can be used and modified by the teams
  • A Risk Assessment Guidance Document to explain how to risk assess your team’s activities / venues
  • A status table outlining what events can happen where

The COVID-19 Hub will be updated regularly throughout the season, including document updates and FAQs. If there is anything you would like to see on the hub, please get in touch with us.

Due to government restrictions, please note that teams in the Republic of Ireland continue to be restricted from training or playing games and the insurance policy remains suspended.

For all COVID-19 enquiries, Softball Ireland continue to have a dedicated email:

International Women’s Day – Dr. Melanie Cunningham

In continuing the celebration of International Women’s Day 2021, Softball Ireland are highlighting the profiles of our female Board Members who are key to the leadership and governance of our sport.

Our next proflie is Melanie Cunningham, Softball Ireland Board Member, Director of Fastpitch Softball, Women’s National Team Head Coach and former international player.

How did you get involved in Softball?
I started playing softball when I was 4, I was lucky that my Mom signed me up. There weren’t actually a lot of other options at the time for girls, but I loved it. There were times when I was playing on 3-4 different teams in different leagues, so that I could play basically every day of the week.

Why do you think Softball is such an inclusive sport?
The thing about softball, is there is a level for everyone. You just want to come out 1 day a week, never practice and socialise during the game – no problem. Or conversely, you want to play at an elite level internationally? The options are yours.

How can we get more women playing team sports after school?
Unfortunately, women often feel there is no place for them to have something they enjoy doing during the week. After work, family, and any other long-term commitments, women are tired and don’t feel they have the time – it can all become quite insular. Whereas, it is actually just an hour or two one or 2 days a week, and research shows staying active helps improve energy levels and overall health and well-being. These days social media is a great way to spread the word – but also mainstream media focusing on women sports and giving them equal air time will show the opportunities available.

What motivated you to join the Softball Ireland Board?
I thought it was important to have more women involved at the decision-making level, especially since I invest a lot of my limited spare time into coaching and holding open days to promote the sport.

How do we encourage more women to get involved in leadership in sport?
By asking and encouraging women to take up these positions. I always keep an eye out for players who have a natural ability to coach and try to incorporate them into future teams in this new role. As the visibility of women in these roles increases, it will become a part of the automatic transition cycle within the sport.

Home plate with a bat, balls and helmet.

Softball Ireland Return to Play Framework

Softball Ireland are fortunate to have two doctors on the Board, representing North and South of the border respectively, as our medical committee. Following the most recent public health advice from the HSE and the NI Executive, they have presented initial return to play timelines to the Board. Following receipt of feedback from the regions, the Board have approved these as our national framework. The committee will now consider detailed return to play protocols (including playing rules), while the Board works with the regions on challenges such as insurance costs, field availability and competition structure. 

1. Seek to reactivate Softball Ireland insurance as of 20th July 2020.

2. Teams may train from 20th July 2020 provided insurance is in place, no more than two teams are present at the diamond and the Softball Ireland return to play protocols are adhered to.

3. Games may commence from 1st August 2020 provided insurance is in place, no more than two teams are present at a diamond and the Softball Ireland return to play protocols are adhered to.

4. No tournaments will be sanctioned in 2020, including BWC, IOST, SINCC, and club/national tournaments at home or abroad.

5. Team captains must submit electronically a list of attendees at training or games, within 24 hours, in line with HSE contact tracing requirements, for 6-week retention.

6. SI will make a final decision on Softball Ulster activity after the NI Executive publishes timelines for their recently published roadmap.

Expected return to play timeline
Expected Softball Ireland Return to Play Timeline

This position is subject to change as further information is made available to the public by the HSE and NI Executive. Final decisions on when games will be played, competition structures and fees will be set by Softball Ireland and the regions, subject to this framework and the SI Return to Play Protocols (TBA) being adhered to. The Softball Ireland Return to Play Protocols will be issued no later than the 30th of June 2020. Any questions to

WNT Celebrates International Womens Day

Since Team 1 participated at the 2015 European Championships in Rosmalen, the Ireland WNT programme has continued to grow with 2018 being the most successful to date winning 2 European Championship medals.

Since the faithful Saturday morning in 2014 when the Director of Fastpitch, Melanie Cunningham, launched the discipline in Ireland the stated aim at that time was to create a profile for the sport at an national level and international level in order to create a catalyst for grass roots development in Ireland. Speaking at the Softball Ireland Annual General Meeting in November 2018, the development pathway of “top down – bottom up” was outlined to the membership with 2019 seeing the launch of a national Fastpitch league together with schools initiatives.

2019 is also the qualification year for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo with 4 weeks in July deciding which country will represent Europe at the Olympics in 2020. The road to Tokyo is very difficult but the Olympic dream is alive!

The pioneers of Team 1 started Ireland’s international odyssey against Austria on a cold and wet Sunday morning in July 2015, capping the week off with a memorable first ever victory against Israel.

On this International Womens Day, we thank all the players and coaches who have been part of this wonderful fastpitch journey to date and we look forward to teaching many girls into the future how to “throw like a girl”.  

Ireland Drop 2 Spots in World Rankings

Ireland Drop 2 Spots to 22nd in World

Ireland have dropped 2 spots to 22nd in the world in the latest WBSC World Rankings.

With no senior international tournaments to participate in during 2018, Ireland’s only means to earn world ranking points was through underage tournaments at which Ireland earned silver (U19) and bronze (U22) medals. Ireland are the 6th highest ranked European team in the world behind Italy (9th), Netherlands (10th), Great Britain (12th), Czech Republic (15th) and Greece (21st). 

USA Softball have retained their position as World number 1 following their World championship win in August 2018.

The full rankings are available here – 

Ireland women’s Fastpitch team jump 6 spots to 12th in Softball Europe rankings

Ireland move up six spots in European Rankings

Ireland have moved up to 12th in the Softball Europe 2018 rankings which is a just reward for their European Under 19 silver medal and Under 22 bronze medal in July.

Ranked 23rd in 2016, the young Irish squad had continued to deliver on the international stage in 2018 and shocked Europe by reaching the final of the U19s the hard way beating European powerhouses Netherlands, Germany, Russia and Czech Republic. Ireland carried this form into the U22 tournament when the mainly U19 team with the addition of a couple of more senior players eliminated hosts Slovakia and followed this up by beating Greece, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic and number 3 in Europe Great Britain for a hard earned bronze medal.

Speaking on the 2018 achievements Head Coach Melanie Cunningham said ” I am delighted for the players, the programme and Ireland that our hard work and success are recognized in the European rankings. We are a programme still in its infancy which first competed in 2015 and to jump 11 places in such a short period is an amazing achievement. I would like to thank the Players, our coaches, the Players families and all those who have made sacrifices to make this possible.”

Coach Cunningham added “We are a still growing as a programme and 2019 will give us an opportunity to build on this success as we compete in the European Championships. Our target is a top 6 finish in order to qualify for the final Europe/Africa Olympic qualifier and keep our Olympic dream alive. We also have a Junior World Championships in August to look forward to as well as a number of other important international tournaments. Our challenge is finding sponsorship and funding to turn this real potential into reality as the Irish Women’s Fastpitch team continue receive zero funding.”


For more details please contact

Colum Lavery


T: +353867708576

About European Softball Rankings

Details on how European Softball Rankings are calculated and previous year rankings can be found here:

Under-22 Women's Team

Ireland Claim Silver at Under 19 European Championships

Ireland lose final 7-3 to hosts on historic night

Ireland’s charge for gold came to an end on a wet Saturday night in Staranzano, Italy as the surprise of the tournament lost a tightly contested final 7-3 to hosts Italy.

Italy were the heavy favourites in front of a passionate, loud and colourful support. Italy set out their marker early getting three quick outs at the top of the first inning before scoring a run to take an early lead to the delight of the home support.

Ireland, as they have done through the hold tournament, were not going to be intimidated by the Italian team and fought back to the delight of the large and noisy Irish support scoring two runs to take a 2-1 lead in the third inning. The defining moment of the game came in the bottom of the third inning as the hosts looked to strike back quickly. Ireland looked like they had got out of the inning but following a hit up the middle hitting an Italian runner, after a long and somewhat intense passage of protests by the Italian coaching team the call was overturned and Italy took full advantage to score three runs and take back the lead. Ireland continued to battle scoring a run in the top of the fifth inning , however the Italians had enough in the tank to keep Ireland at bay and take the final 7-3.

Speaking after the final, Ireland Head Coach Melanie Cunningham spoke of her pride for the Players ” We came to this tournament seeking a top 8 finish and we are delighted with the silver medal though disappointed we couldn’t live with the excellent Italian team for 7 innings. I could not have asked for any more from the Players who have represented our Country and their family with pride”.

Coach Cunningham added “We will enjoy the night with our families and supporters and use the trip to Slovakia tomorrow to regroup and refocus on winning a medal at the Under 22 tournament in Slovakia”

Italy 7, Ireland 3 (Jul 21, 2018 at Ronchi dei Legionari)
Ireland............. 002 010 0 -  3  8  4      (0-1)
Italy............... 101 311 X -  7 13  1      (1-0)
Pitchers: Ireland - MCGRATH Makenzine; NELSON Kelly(5) and PACKER Lauren. Italy -
LACATENA Alexia; SOLDI Susanna(5) and PRINCIC Elisa.
Win-LACATENA Alexia(6-0)  Save-SOLDI Susanna(2)  Loss-MCGRATH Makenzine(2-2)  T-1:45  A-1120

Team Ireland

 8KEARY Maura
 9PACKER Lauren
 12MC MAHON Brid
 16WILMOT Lily
 17O’LEARY Maeve
 18NELSON Kelly
 19WALSH Eithne
 21FRANKLIN Nicole
 22MCGRATH Makenzine
 32CLANCY Alexis
 44MCGRATH Cassandra
 96DE LANGE Caitlyne
An infield softball.

2017 Year In Review – Junior World Championships, Clearwater, Florida

Ireland participated in its first Junior (U19) World Championships in July 2017 in Clearwater Florida. 14 previously uncapped Players represented Ireland in the historic tournament recording 3 wins and finishing a respectable 18th out of 26 entries.

Unfortunately, Ireland’s preparations for the tournament were severely hampered by mother nature, with Ireland only able to have one outdoor session and one exhibition in advance of the tournament.

Ireland’s group for the tournament was affectionately known as the group of death as Ireland drew Canada, China, Mexico, Great Britain and Korea.

After a slow start as the team got to know each other, Ireland beat Korea in the last round of group games and this was the start of a streak as Ireland followed up with wins over Israel and Peru to set-up a re-match with Korea for 17/18 placing, ultimately losing but not before making an un-heard of jump of the rankings. Ireland’s finish at the tournament does not do the team justice as the other teams in the group finished at the top end of the tournament.

Next up for the Jnr Women’s team will be the 2018 European Championships which Ireland will enter with the confidence of having the majority of the roster still eligible from 2017.

Ireland Finish 2017 ranked Top 20 in the World

Ireland Women’s National Softball Team earns No. 20 spot in WBSC Women’s World Softball Rankings

Just 3 years into its Women’s fastpitch programme, Softball Ireland is thrilled to announce that Ireland have become the No. 20 ranked team in the world according to the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women’s World Softball Rankings released today. Team Ireland are now the fifth highest ranked European team in the World. Ireland’s World Ranking points are based on 2 years of tournament play compared to the 4 years of most other nations. Continue reading “Ireland Finish 2017 ranked Top 20 in the World”

Pub Quiz: In aid of Team Ireland Fastpitch Softball

Come help us softballers fundraise for Ireland’s first-time ever appearance at the European Championships in July (Rosmalen, Holland) with a brain-testing pub quiz at the Hudson Bar!

Have a pint and some wings (seriously, they are so good), compete with your friends and learn a little bit about fastpitch softball 🙂

There will be a raffle and coin toss on the night (prizes to be announced] and all support is greatly appreciated! See you there for the craic!

Link to European Championship Site:

Link to Hudson Bar:

Let us know you’re attending by clicking this link and finding the Facebook Event!

Quick Interview #7 – Laura Hoey

[title size=”1″]Quick Interview #7 – Laura Hoey[/title]

When did you start Softball? 
I started Slow pitch in 2011 when I returned from the States after 6 years of living there.

Why Softball??
I returned from a soccer scholarship in America and new about fast pitch from living stateside. When I was jogging my local park I saw what looked liked softball but the pitching was under hand and there were men and women!! That grabbed my attention and curiosity, and now I’m entering my 5th season in a great sport.

Have you played any other sports?
I’ve always been a sports player but soccer was my heartbeat and I that was followed by GAA and cross country running.

What club do you play for?
I’m currently deciding what team my schedule will permitted me to join this year regarding training days and match days. I was previously a 2pak club member but a bit of a softball hoe really!

Do you have any pre match routines?
I usually try and get with a fast armed player mainly male to wake me up and shake of any rustiness or nerves. Have a hard throwing warm up!!

When was your first international game? 
My first international game was 2013 against an over 50’s American team in the Celtic classic before we traveled for the 2013 Euros.

How many caps do you have?
Em, I believe I have like 5 caps in slow pitch and 1 in soccer

What can we do to continue to get people interested in Softball? 
I’ve helped mu sister out in youth reach programs she does and I held softball camps during it, I reckon that’s a good place to start and schools sports days etc, the kids and teenagers coming up are out best bet!! We need to be targeting schools and colleges which I know some in SL and SI are already, if more people got on board….

Are you sponsored?
I am lucky that both my previous employer (Australian) and current (American) company are sponsoring me for the up coming trip, let’s hope it covers everything 😉

What’s your international Goal? 
My heart broke to lose by 1 run against Germany in 2013 for a medal position in slow pitch. We are the underdogs this year in Holland but my aspirations stay the same, give 110% and play for a medal!!

Who is your favourite female player?
Haha I have learned so much from various players over the years and would be unfair to name only one. I’ll go with Mrs Finch as my neutral choice and she needs no explanation!!

Who is your favourite male player?
Same goes for the men, lots have helped me mature and evolve as a player but there’s a small few that have helped me immensely and would be unfair to only name one.

Which countries have you played Softball in? Where was your favourite?
Hawaii being the most awesome place I’ve played slow pitch in just because it’s Hawaii, there have been some close seconds, Czech Republic, Italy, Scotland, London, and many more to come 🙂

Quick Interview #6 – Jenny Patterson (Bohan)

[title size=”1″]Quick Interview #6 – Jenny Patterson (Bohan)[/title]

When did you start Softball? 
I started playing softball in 1998, Yikes that’s a few years!!

Why Softball??
I played Rounders competitively within the Community Games from the age of 8 winning lots of All Ireland Medals with Lakelands Rounders club. I absolutely loved Rounders and was introduced to softball by a friend of a Rounders friend who had been bitten by the Softball bug.

Have you played any other sports?
Yes, Rounders, Hockey, Soccer, Basketball, Athletics, Badminton. I love sport.

What club do you play for?
I play with the Oddsox Green in Ireland and we have won the league 3 times with a lot of frustrating runner-up years and with H2O in the UK where we have won the National League 4 times. Oddsox Green are due to play in the European Clubs next year and I played with H2O in the European Clubs in Prague last year.

Do you have any pre match routines?
A general warm up and jog to get the body limbered up. A throw to get the arms sorted and the eye in, and a few swings of the bat too. It’s also always good to take a few moments before the game starts to focus on your intent to win!

When was your first international game? 
In 2000-Maynooth.

How many caps do you have?
Not absolutely certain, I played for Ireland in the Europeans in 2000 and 2004, but also at many preparation tournaments in the UK. I imagine about 20+

What can we do to continue to get people interested in Softball? 
I think we could market the sport a little better than we do. There are plenty of people who don’t even know what it is or that it’s available in Ireland. I understand that we don’t have a lot of funds available but I think it would be worth it in the long run. Also grassroots programmes are essential to the growth of the sport.

Are you sponsored?
No, Self-funding.

What’s your international Goal? 
To win Gold would be awesome. I have a silver and a bronze in my pocket so there’s only one more I want!

Who is your favourite female player?
Melanie of course…. Ha Ha

Who is your favourite male player?
Well if we can include baseball I would say Dustin Pedroia, he is one serious player!

Which countries have you played Softball in? Where was your favourite?
UK, Jersey, Austria, USA, Czech Republic.
I would have to say Austria as I met my husband at that tournament!!