Photo Credit: Oisin Keniry
Cricket Ireland has today confirmed that 23 women’s central contracts will be in place in 2023, covering full-time, part-time and casual contracts.
Five players will also receive multi-year contracts – Laura Delany, Gaby Lewis, Orla Prendergast, Leah Paul and Arlene Kelly.
The centrally contracted full-time women’s players for 2023 are:
Laura Delany, Shauna Kavanagh, Arlene Kelly, Gaby Lewis*, Sophie MacMahon, Cara Murray**, Orla Prendergast***, Rebecca Stokell****, Mary Waldron
Ava Canning, Georgina Dempsey, Amy Hunter, Louise Little, Jane Maguire, Leah Paul
Casual (match) contracts
Alana Dalzell, Rachel Delaney, Sarah Forbes, Joanna Loughran, Aimee Maguire, Kate McEvoy, Eimear Richardson, Freya Sargent
* Gaby Lewis will revert to Educational/Part-time contract during her university semester, but full-time contract during semester breaks
** Cara Murray will be on an Educational/Part-time contract until June 2023, from July 2023 she will move to a full-time contract
*** Orla Prendergast will be on an Educational/Part-time contract until May 2023, from June 2023 she will move to a full-time contract
**** Rebecca Stokell will be on an Educational/Part-time contract until November 2023, from December 2023 she will move to a full-time contract
The full-time contracts commence in March 2023 – however, as noted above, several contracts vary due to educational commitments.
Education contracts are designed to work around players who are at school full-time or studying at a tertiary level. Players on these contracts gain a significant living allowance to ensure they do not need to find a job during their education years, and can instead concentrate on their cricket. Most of these players will be effectively full-time in the summer holidays.
Casual contracts offer players loss of earnings and match fees, 12-month medical and healthcare insurance, sports science support (strength and conditioning, psychology, performance analysis, nutrition and lifestyle management), specialist coaching support, and for ROI-based players, full access to the Sport Ireland Institute.
Carrie Archer, Women’s National Selector, said:
“It has been an incredible year for the performance squad, beginning with contract news, followed by impressive on-field performances throughout the year, and culminating in a thrilling appearance at the T20 World Cup. What has been universally acknowledged throughout this journey is that the standards and competitiveness of the squad has come on in leaps and bounds.
“Congratulations to all players receiving contracts for 2023. As a collective, you are blazing a new trail, showing the next generation that they can aspire to a career in cricket in Ireland. The last 12 months has really set a benchmark, so I look forward to seeing what can be achieved over the next 12 months.”
Richard Holdsworth, High Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, said:
“While it’s a day to recognise and congratulate the players, the work, planning and preparation that goes on behind-the-scenes by head coach Ed Joyce and his support staff has been incredible.
“When fans hear about increased support for women’s cricket they immediately think about the playing group – but from a high performance perspective it’s just as much about the structures and supports you put around that playing group. In recent years we have brought in a full-time assistant coach and pathway manager, and employed a full-time team operations manager, performance analyst, physiotherapist and strength & conditioning coach. We have also engaged with the Sport Ireland Institute, in particular, on nutrition, mental health and lifestyle management.
“And a key feature of our senior performance set-up is that regardless of whether a player is on a full-time, part-time or casual contract, they still benefit from the healthcare and lifestyle supports available. This is an important feature as we seek to grow the pool of international-ready talent over time.
“One present challenge, however, is the fixture list. We are still in the early stages of building a bilateral programme above and beyond the Women’s Championship fixtures, we have unfortunately been hampered by one visiting team this summer having to withdraw from their scheduled tour to Ireland. While we will work towards replacement fixtures in coming months, the fixture programme will look far healthier from 2024 onwards as we move into both a new ICC funding cycle and towards what we hope will be more regular appearances at global tournaments.
“The High Performance programme recognises that development and progress of players comes mainly through playing competitive cricket at a high level. We anticipate 2023 will be the final year of limited fixtures, which is frustrating, but we are looking ahead to a busy 2024, which will start with a January tour. In the meantime, we will look to add to the 2023 fixture programme as opportunities arise”