Softball Europe have confirmed that due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing travel restrictions that all European Championships and Cups for 2020 are now cancelled.
Ireland v USA – 12 Days To Go
Its just 12 Days to Ireland take on World Number 1 USA in Donnybrook Stadium in what should be a wonderful night to showcase our sport to the masses.
Come out and support the girls in green on the night or try Softball in our fan village!
Entry is Free!
Thank you to Eithne Walsh for the wonderful hype video
Ireland to Host USA in inaugural Atlantic Challenge Cup
Softball Ireland are delighted to announce that the Irish Women’s National Team will host the World Number 1 USA Jr Women’s National Team in Dublin on June 24, 2019 at 7.00pm for the inaugural Atlantic Challenge Cup.
Ireland will play World Number 1 USA as part of final leg of their short European tour having played France and Japan in Paris prior to arriving in Dublin.
For Ireland, ranked 12th in Europe and 22nd in the World, the game forms an important part of Irelands preparations for the European Championships and Olympic Qualification tournament which will held in the Czech Republic and Poland from June 30 – July 6, 2019.
Speaking on the opportunity to play USA in Dublin, Head Coach Melanie Cunningham (Director of Fastpitch) said “We are excited for this opportunity. Playing such a strong opponent will be sure to focus the team prior to travelling to the European Championships. Like the hockey team in 2018, this summer is softballs chance to showcase what a high performance women’s programme can accomplish.”
Softball Ireland President added “We would like to thank USA Softball for agreeing to extend their tour to include Ireland. There is a special relationship between both our countries and in particular between our two Softball boards. This is a great opportunity for us to showcase Softball to the wider community in Ireland and we hope to see a lot of fans on the night wearing green and supporting the team.
Team Ireland will be hoping to replicate the success of 2018 during which the Under 19 Women’s Team won silver and Under 22 Women’s Team one bronze at their respective European Championships.
The Ireland v USA game will be streamed live globally and will be available in the USA on usasoftball.com.
Sponsorship and advertising opportunities will be available for interested partners.
Please contact – Colum Lavery
Softball Ireland has a strong commitment to gender balance on its board with 50% or greater of the board being female since 2015.
This positive in governance extends further than just the Softball Ireland board to our Regional Associations also. Currently Fastpitch Ireland and Softball Ulster are led by female chairs with both following in the footsteps of Julie Trundle who was a forming member and long time driving force as Chair of Softball Leinster. In addition to chairing and driving the expansion of Softball in Leinster, Julie has been responsible for the re-introduction of Indoor Softball (twice) onto the Irish Softball calendar.
Julie has not only driven change at the board level, Julie has been a member of the Softball Ireland Coed Slowpitch National team since 2004 and has traveled to many tournament around the world on club teams and everybody will agree that Julie has been a wonderful ambassador for our sport in Ireland, the UK and Beyond.
On this International Womens Day we thank Julie for her continued commitment to our sport!
To coincide with the Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees series to be played in London in June 2019, Major League Baseball (MLB) are running a Cadet Camp targeted at high level young male and female athletes. The athletes to partake in the camp have been selected by BaseballSoftballUK and MLB.
The Camp will be an action-packed programme of specially designed daytime coaching, drills and game time, followed by evening talks, delivered by MLB and their expert coaches, covering both baseball and fastpitch softball.
Softball Ireland are delighted to announce that through our continued partnership with BaseballSoftballUK and in particular BSF Fastpitch, Fastpitch Ireland have accepted the invitation to nominate Irish Junior Internationals Caitlyne De Lange and Maeve Og O’Leary to attend the MLB Cadet Camp at the end of the May.
This is a unique opportunity for the two talented Players to spend a week practicing in such a high performance environment.
Softball Ireland & Fastpitch Ireland would like to express our gratitude to BaseballSoftballUK for providing an opportunity to include some of our athletes in this camp.
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 U19 & U22 Women’s National Teams Shock Europe
2018 was the year the Irish women team announced to the European softball powerhouses that we were no longer there to just make up the numbers.
As the Irish team left Dublin airport on 7am flight to Venice on Friday June 13, 2018, nobody could imagine what was about to happen over the next 14 days.
Under 19s take silver
Ireland started the tournament in a group containing defending Champions Great Britain, European super power Russia and Denmark. Two wins in the group stage were required to make the medal round of the tournament and nobody, other than the Irish Management team, at the tournament expected it to be possible
Ireland played some phenomenal softball over the next 6 days during which they beat such European softball royalty as Russia, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Czech Republic to name a few on its way to playing the host nation and European number 1 Italy in the final. The final was an amazing occasion under lights in front of a full stadium and streamed around the world. Italy proved too strong on the night but not before Ireland made the host nation work hard for 7 innings to claim the title.
A silver medal won within 4 years of the programme starting, Ireland were proud!
As a result of coming second, Ireland qualified for the 2019 Jnr World Championships as one of Europe’s 3 qualifiers.
Under 22s take Bronze
The Irish team at 6am on the morning after its U19 heroics got on its bus for its 8 hour drive to Slovakia for the U22 European Championships. Ireland had entered the tournament to give the younger players more experience at the higher level and keep senior players ticking over in a year of no WNT tournaments. As the tired U19 team, management and families settled in for the journey exhausted, re-enforcements had arrived for the U22 tournament in the shape of Claire Blount, Tess Griswold, Allie Monteleone and Sinead O’Leary all focussed and demaning a medal.
If Ireland thought its group the previous week was tough, life came even harder when we were drawn with Great Britain (again), Greece, Slovakia and Turkey. Ireland needed 3 wins to progress to the medal round and things) did not start out well by losing to GB (again for the third time in a week). The tournament got better from here on in with Ireland winning all its remaining group games.
A tired Ireland team, had to work hard over the next 4 days beating Poland and Russia but losing to Netherlands to qualify for the super six. Ireland knew 1 win from 3 would qualify them for a medal game and first up was GB (again). In what developed into a classic game, Ireland led for six innings only for GB to tie the game up in the bottom of 7. Extra innings it was and after Ireland taking a two run lead on a Tess home run, GB once more came back to snatch an unlikely win. Ireland still controlled its own destiny and beat Czech Republic the following day to qualify for the Bronze medal final.
You guessed it, the Bronze medal final saw Ireland play GB for the fifth time this week, and it became a very one sided affair of Ireland domination GB both defensively and offensively to win the game 6-0 and take bronze whilst breaking our GB hoodoo at the same time.
Ireland finished the summer with a shiny bronze to complement the silver.
Next up for Ireland in 2019 – Olympic Qualification Tournaments
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 – https://rankings.wbsc.org/
Great Turnout for Indoor Coaching Session
After a successful skills day and Dublin Indoor Softball Tournament … no better plan that to run both together. With another excellent turn out in Firhouse today, the attending Players were put through their paces by Women’s National Team Head Coach Melanie Cunningham and her coaching team focusing on footwork, throwing fundementals and batting basics.
The day finished with a greatly contested 4 inning indoor game we suspect there will be some sore bodies in the morning but fun had by all.
Next Softball Skills Session: January 13, 2018
Next Indoor Softball Tournament: January 26, 2018
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
About European Softball Rankings
Details on how European Softball Rankings are calculated and previous year rankings can be found here: http://www.europeansoftball.org/ranking/
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 HR ITA - VIGNA Laura.
|12||MC MAHON Brid|
|96||DE LANGE Caitlyne|
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.