Ireland Women coach Ed Joyce relishing the end of ‘long, frustrating wait’ for cricket against Scotland

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Joyce’s side have not played an international for 20 months

Ed Joyce has been joking this week about his unbeaten record as Ireland Women’s coach in ODI cricket. It might sound arrogant, but only without the crucial context: 23 months after he was appointed, they still haven’t played one under him.

That wait is set to continue for a while yet, but Sunday’s T20I against Scotland Women in Belfast – the first of a four-match series – will be the end of a 20-month gap between internationals, caused not only by Covid-19 but also late cancellations and the sporadic nature of the associate calendar. It has been a long, frustrating time, but their return is tantalisingly close.

“The attitude has been absolutely top class – it couldn’t have been better,” Joyce tells ESPNcricinfo. “We’ve had some big knocks: a Thailand tour cancelled, the Scotland series was cancelled a couple of times and this is third time lucky, and even prior to that there was a Zimbabwe tour cancelled when I was taking over in 2019.