Cricket Ireland unveil professional contracts for women

(Cricket news) Cricket Ireland today unveiled its first-ever full-time professional contracts for Ireland Women as part of a €1.5M investment in the women’s game – and announced three of the world’s best teams would tour Ireland this summer.

The key announcements at today’s event were:

1) 20 women’s playing contracts have been offered – seven full-time, nine part-time/educational and four non-retainer contracts

2) Cricket Ireland’s investment in the women’s game is now €1.5M a year – triple the expenditure from pre-pandemic 2019

3) Ireland Women will host Australia, South Africa and Pakistan at home this summer

Head Coach Ed Joyce has signed a three-year contract extension


20 playing contracts have been offered in 2022:

International (full-time) contracts

Laura Delany, Shauna Kavanagh, Sophie MacMahon, Cara Murray, Celeste Raack, Eimear Richardson, Mary Waldron.

Education (part-time) contracts

Ava Canning, Georgina Dempsey, Amy Hunter, Gaby Lewis, Louise Little, Jane Maguire, Leah Paul, Orla Prendergast, Rebecca Stokell.

Non-retainer contracts

Rachel Delaney, Sarah Forbes, Hannah Little, Kate McEvoy.
All full-time contracts commence in March 2022 and represent Ireland’s first-ever fully-professional women cricketers, and just the second women’s national team in Ireland to introduce full-time, year-round playing contracts.

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.

Non-retainer 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.


Ireland Women have an intensely busy year ahead, with three visiting teams, a T20 World Cup Qualifier and a major tour in late 2022.

South Africa series

3 June 2022: Ireland Women v South Africa Women – 1st T20I (Pembroke)
6 June 2022: Ireland Women v South Africa Women – 2nd T20I (Pembroke)
8 June 2022: Ireland Women v South Africa Women – 3rd T20I (Pembroke)
11 June 2022: Ireland Women v South Africa Women – 1st ODI (Clontarf)
14 June 2022: Ireland Women v South Africa Women – 1st ODI (Clontarf)
17 June 2022: Ireland Women v South Africa Women – 1st ODI (Clontarf)

The three ODIs will be Ireland Women’s first fixtures as part of the ICC Women’s Championship.

Women’s summer tri-series

16 July 2022: Australia Women v Pakistan Women – T20I (Bready)
17 July 2022: Ireland Women v Australia Women – T20I (Bready)
19 July 2022: Ireland Women v Pakistan Women – T20I (Bready)
21 July 2022: Ireland Women v Australia Women – T20I (Bready)
23 July 2022: Pakistan Women v Australia Women – T20I (Bready)
24 July 2022: Ireland Women v Pakistan Women – T20I (Bready)

The ICC are yet to confirm the dates of the T20 World Cup Qualifier, and details of the Ireland Women’s tour to a major full-member nation in late 2022 will be announced in due course (see below for further points of interest about these series).


Ireland Women’s head coach Ed Joyce has signed a three-year contract extension. Joyce took over the role on an interim basis in July 2019, before being appointed full-time later that year.

The Ireland Women’s squad now has a strong core of full-time coaching and support staff dedicated to the senior side, including:

Performance & Pathway Coach: Glenn Querl
Team Operations Manager: Beth Healy
Strength & Conditioning Coach: Greg Hollins
Physiotherapist: Catherine Simpson
Performance Analyst: Jay Shelat

In further support, the recently announced high performance specialist coaches for Ireland Men – Gary Wilson and Ryan Eagleson – will provide periodic support to the women’s programme as part of their roles, as will the yet to be appointed specialist spin bowling coach.

Also read: Axar Patel set to return as India eye Test series win over Sri Lanka


From 2016-2019 the annual investment in women’s cricket was approximately €500K per annum. In 2022, the annual investment will triple to €1.5M.

Expenditure is holistic, demonstrating a strategic approach to the women’s game, and includes areas such as: player contracts and match fees, coaching and support staff salaries, cost of home and away fixtures, uniforms, equipment, venue hire, nutrition and lifestyle management, talent pathway, Academy and Super Series costs.

In addition to this is further investment in the grassroots of the sport which benefits girls and mass participation programmes.

Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland, said: “Last year we released our new Strategic Plan and our first-ever Women’s & Girls Cricket Action Plan. Both of these documents outlined Cricket Ireland’s national commitment to growing the sport from grassroots to elite levels. Today’s announcements underline our deep commitment to women’s and girls’ elite cricket and put us firmly on the path of not only becoming a major nation in world cricket, but a major sport in Ireland.

“However, the work behind-the-scenes to get to this point has – in reality – been three years in the making. Coming off the back of the team’s performance at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in 2018, we – as an organisation – committed ourselves to a journey to professionalise women’s cricket. It was not only a good thing to do, it was the right thing to do. Women’s cricket’s time has come around the world – we’ve seen the incredible growth and professionalisation of the women’s game across several major nations like Australia, England and India and the strong focus on female cricket in the new ICC strategy. It’s now Ireland’s turn.

“We are today only the second women’s sport in Ireland to offer 12-month, full-time contracts after the Rugby 7s squad – and this we are intensely proud of. If in the past our focus was primarily on men’s senior cricket, now our focus is equally on the women’s game as the shopfront for advancing our sport. Today we proudly boast a national women’s squad that features full-time central contracts. This is almost the exact path the men’s game followed a decade ago – albeit the progress of the women’s programme will advance at a quicker pace.

“It may surprise many people to hear that the first evidence of women’s cricket in Ireland dates back 138 years, with Ireland Women playing their debut international in 1983. I would doubt that many of the women playing up until recent times would ever have dreamed we would be where we are today. That is progress and an organisation holding its hands up and acknowledging things have to change. That is where we are today, but this is not the destination, rather the start of a new era.”

Richard Holdsworth, High Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, said: “Today’s announcements demonstrate a clear intent to not only further develop our performance pathway, but now forge a career pathway for our women cricketers. To get where we are today has been a true journey – not a smooth journey, and certainly not a straightforward one, but we are finally seeing the delivery of commitments we have made over recent years.

“To see a €1.5 million spending commitment this year on the women’s performance programme is remarkable. We have tripled the annual budget of the programme since 2016, and this commitment has been achieved through hard work, research, consultation and seeking expert advice.

“However, it is important to note that today’s announcements are not a case of ‘done and dusted’. This is not a final destination. This is just the start of our new era. In 2021 our women’s senior side qualified for the ICC Women’s Championship – we don’t want to just compete in this competition once, we want to stay there. We want to entrench ourselves in the top ranks of the women’s game. Today may be the culmination of three years' work, but it also represents the first day of a new project. A project to keep us in the top tier and to not only participate, but truly compete against the top nations.

“Now, do we expect to be a top cricketing nation overnight? Of course not. However, with gradual and determined planning and programme development, we believe we can steadily make our way up the rankings and be a side of international renown. We’ll be ambitious, but realistic – we’ll seek opportunities, but remain grounded. We see women’s cricket only heading in one direction over coming years – growing at the elite level, and inspiring the next generation of girls at the grassroots. We want to live that well-worn phrase: If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.

“Not only are we excited to announce the investment and the contracts, but also the international fixtures this summer. South Africa, Australia and Pakistan. And these 10 home internationals this summer will be complemented by a T20 World Cup Qualifier and an exciting away tour against a Full Member nation. I believe we’ll look back on 2022 as a watershed year for women’s cricket in Ireland, and I hope we can inspire that new generation of youngsters to take up the sport.

“I congratulate all players receiving contracts in 2022, but like all important advancements in the sporting world, we have not achieved this on our own. We would like to thank Hanley Energy for their sponsorship support of the national side since 2017. We would like to thank the Irish Government and NI Executive – and their sports authorities, Sport Ireland and Sport NI – for their ongoing commitment and funding support for the women’s programme. Thanks also to the Irish Cricketers Association for working with us on this project, and to the Cricket Ireland High Performance Committee for their expertise, insight and guidance.”

Laura Delany, Ireland Women’s captain, said: “As a squad we are truly excited and thankful for this opportunity – it is something that many of us never would have dreamed of when we started out playing the sport we love. While thankful, though, we also acknowledge the hard work, sacrifice and commitment shown by the players to achieve the honour of representing our country at the highest levels.

“And, as fortunate as the players here today are for having this opportunity, we know that we are standing on the shoulders of the giants that came before us. For many years, legends of our Irish women’s cricket have fought hard to achieve successes on and off the field. To the generations of women who came before us, we say thank you. You have helped us get here today, and we hope we can do you proud.

“To the squad I say simply, enjoy it. Enjoy this opportunity – be thankful, but know that you’ve earned the right to stand where you are. This is Day One of what I hope is an incredible journey we will take together – it may get tough at times, it may be challenging, but it should be an experience like no other. To travel the world playing cricket for Ireland – there’s no better feeling.”


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