ODI Ireland V Australia Clash - 27 August 2015
Phil Simmons is already looking forward to the icing on the cake of a busy summer of cricket for Ireland in 2015 - the chance to do battle with Australia when the world's best ODI side visit Belfast for a 50 overs match on Thursday 27 August.
Australia will be flying across the Irish Sea in the wake of an Ashes series with England and are likely to include stars of the calibre of David Warner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin and Shane Watson in their line-up at Stormont.
Ireland should be ready for the Aussies, though, after competing in the World Cup early in the year Down Under and hosting both England and the ICC World T20 qualifiers (jointly with Scotland) in a busy summer of domestic action.
For coach Simmons it will be a chance to avenge a 39-run defeat by Australia in Dublin four years ago when chasing 232 for victory, Ireland were 80-0 and later 137-3 before collapsing.
"That defeat hurt, because we all knew the game was there for the taking," Simmons said. "Paul Stirling and William Porterfield got the team off to such a strong start that day, we should have won easily, but lack of big match experience cost us.
"I'm certain we learnt from it though, and it helped us get over the line when we beat England at the World Cup nine months later.
"It's going to be a busy period for us next year but we're always asking for more fixtures against the top teams, and they don't come much bigger than Australia."
Vice-captain Kevin O'Brien wants Ireland fans to get behind the 'Boys in Green' and create that unique atmosphere which has contributed to victories over the West Indies and Zimbabwe in the past and lifted the home side in thrilling encounters with fellow Associate members.
"It's a real boost to have the Stormont crowd get behind you," O'Brien said. "I remember qualifying for the 2009 T20 finals there. We had to defend a really low total against Bermuda in a rain-effected game and the atmosphere was just amazing. The fans played a big part that night.
"We were also presented with the World Cup qualifying trophy at Stormont last year after our back-to-back victories over Scotland, so the place has a lot of happy memories.
"Our fans are passionate and knowledgeable, and I'm sure it'll be a fantastic atmosphere when we play Australia."