Bank of Ireland has extended its sponsorship of the Irish cricket team for a further two years with an option to extend beyond that.

The sponsorship comes on the back of a very successful period for the Irish men's team, which is currently ranked 11th in the world, including qualification for the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies. 

The sponsorship will also capitalise on a very busy programme ahead with Ireland participating in the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy and the Intercontinental Cup.

Ireland will also host England for a one day international in June of next year.

As official sponsors of the Irish men's cricket team Bank of Ireland branding will be carried on the team's shirts and sweaters and significant branding, advertising and hospitality opportunities will be available at home and away internationals.  

Commenting today on the sponsorship, Richie Boucher, chief executive, Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking said: "Bank of Ireland has a long tradition of supporting sporting organisations across the island of Ireland and we are delighted to extend our sponsorship of the Irish men's cricket team for a further two years. 

"Irish cricket has made huge progress over the last number of years and our experience with the ICU has been extremely positive since we first sponsored the one day international against the West Indies last year."

He added: "Looking toward the World Cup in 2007, we hope that our support ensures that the Irish team continues its progress over recent times and is well prepared for a successful World Cup campaign."

Welcoming today's announcement by Bank of Ireland, Peter Thompson, chief executive of the Irish Cricket Union said: "We are delighted to have secured Bank of Ireland as our team sponsor for the next two years and reinforce the excellent partnership which has been developed over the last two seasons. 

"The next two years will be the most exciting in the history of Irish cricket, with nine matches against the English counties, a One Day International against England and the Cricket World Cup, and to have Ireland's largest bank supporting the team will help to ensure that Irish cricket is prepared both on and off the field."