Ireland missed out on a place at the 2009 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup when they lost to South Africa in the semi-finals of the qualifying competition. Despite Cecelia Joyce's unbeaten 43, the Irish were all out for 107, and the hosts scored their runs in 27.4 overs to win by seven wickets.
South Africa will now meet Pakistan in the final, but both will also play in the tournament proper next year. Pakistan beat the Netherlands by 98 runs in the second semi-final after bowling them out for just 68.
"Everybody is absolutely gutted," said Ireland Women's Captain Heather Whelan (photo). "We trained so hard, and for so long, in order to try to go to the World Cup in Australia, but it's not going to be. But we'll be here again in four years, looking for a place in the World Cup and we expect to make it next time."
Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the West Indies automatically qualified for the World Cup, which will be played in New South Wales in March 2009.
Ireland's men took part in their 2007 World Cup in the West Indies and achieved unexpected success, beating Pakistan and drawing against Zimbabwe. This performance has given Cricket in Ireland a great boost, which now also inspires the Irish women's XI.