Tag: fastpitch

Countdown to 2019 – #2


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. 

Full report can be read by clicking here

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

Indoor Softball Skills Day

Following on from the successful softball skills day in September and the wonderful Dublin Indoor Softball Tournament in early November, we are delighted to confirm that the Irish National Women’s coaching team are joining up with Julie and the indoor softball organisers to host a softball skills morning followed by a game or two on Sunday December 2, 2018 at 12:30.

When: Sunday December 2, 2018

Time: 1230 – 2:30pm

Where: Firhouse Community College, Firhouse Road, Dublin 24

We look forward to you joining us on what should be a fun couple of hours.

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

E: president@softball.ie

T: +353867708576

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/

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”