Cricket Ireland: Orla Prendergast awarded part-time contract as available funds re-invested in women’s cricket

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Photo Credit: Cricket Ireland

DUBLIN – Cricket Ireland has today announced that a sixth player has been added to the women’s retainer contract list with Orla Prendergast being awarded a part-time deal for the first time. Additionally, contracted players Laura Delany, Gaby Lewis and Celeste Raack have been offered an increased deal until the end of 2020.

The opportunity to offer Prendergast a 1.5 day-a-week contract – and to increase three more contracted players additional contact time – arises from monies becoming available after Kim Garth recently ended her contract early to move to Australia.

All-rounder Prendergast, 18, made her international debut for Ireland in August 2019 and has appeared eight times with a highest score of 38 and claiming five wickets at an average of 16.80. She has featured this season in all four Super Series domestic matches for the Typhoons, scoring 114 runs at an average 28.50, and bowling tightly with an economy rate of 3.85 runs per over.

A talented athlete, Orla has also represented Republic of Ireland women’s national under-17 football team, and plays her club cricket with Pembroke Cricket Club in Dublin.

She said:

“I really enjoyed my first experience with international cricket at the T20 World Cup Qualifier last year. It brought plenty of new challenges for me which was great – being able to test myself against high quality opponents was really enjoyable. Not qualifying for the World Cup was a disappointing end to last summer, but it left me wanting to work harder and be part of the squad at the next tournament.”

“While it’s frustrating to have our upcoming international games postponed, looking at it positively it gives us more time to prepare for the World Cup qualifiers. I hope these additional coaching contact hours will further my game and give me the best chance to help us qualify for the World Cup next summer.”

Ed Joyce, Ireland Women’s Head Coach, said:

“As soon as we understood that there would be funding available, I was keen to see it reinvested back into the players. In the absence of competitive international fixtures, to spread the funding to increase dedicated training contact time with several players is the next best option. That four players will now benefit from the reinvestment is good news, and I am especially pleased that we will be able to spend more time working with Orla. Her all-round talent has been recognised for a while, and she has shown that she can step up with each challenge that has come her way. These additional coaching hours will only be of benefit as she grows in confidence and understanding of her game.”

“It has been great to see the Super Series this year growing in importance as a competitive benchmark – both for both those within the international set-up, and those who are aspiring to be part of the squad for the World Cup Qualifier in mid-2021. That we have, despite the obvious challenges, managed to schedule an eight-match series has been encouraging, and the performances to date have been pleasing to see. The players have not had a traditional season, but what they have lacked in preparation, they have more than made up for in commitment and enthusiasm to make the most of this shortened season.”

Richard Holdsworth, High Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, said:

“While it is unfortunate that circumstances have led to the postponement of the women’s World Cup Qualifier, we have continued to invest in the women’s game through the intra-squad under-15s and under-19s fixtures, making further improvements to the women’s Super Series and reinvesting in players contracts after Kim Garth moved to Australia.”

“With the curtailment of international sport and restrictions on travel, it has been heartbreaking for the squad to see their entire year’s fixtures wiped out, however, we are actively engaging other countries on opportunities as circumstances hopefully improve ahead of the – now – 2021 World Cup Qualifier.”

Cricket Ireland introduced its first part-time professional contracts for women in 2019. In 2020, Cricket Ireland increased its investment in the women’s game through a new category of non-retainer contracts covering the rest of the senior performance squad.

The non-retainer contracts cover:

  • medical and healthcare insurance;
  • strength and conditioning support;
  • psychology, nutrition, performance analysis, lifestyle management and specialist coaching support;
  • loss of earnings for all competition periods;
  • match fees for all international matches; and
  • for ROI players, full access to the Sport Ireland Sports Institute.

The six paid part-time contracted players are: Laura Delany, Shauna Kavanagh, Mary Waldron, Gaby Lewis, Celeste Raack and Orla Prendergast (Kim Garth relinquished her contract in July).

The non-retainer contracts were offered to: Eimear Richardson, Lara Maritz, Louise Little, Rebecca Stokell, Una Raymond-Hoey, Hannah Little, Leah Paul, Sophie MacMahon, Cara Murray, Louise McCarthy.


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