Cricket Ireland have taken another big step towards a professional women’s game, after it was announced that eleven female cricketers will receive newly developed non-retainer contracts. Additionally, it was revealed that five players will receive extensions on their part-time professional contracts.
The new non-retainer contracts include benefits such as year-round medical and healthcare insurance; strength and conditioning support; psychology, nutrition, performance analysis, lifestyle management and specialist coaching support; match fees for all international matches; and take into account loss of earnings for all competition periods. Additionally, for ROI players, full access to the Sport Ireland Sports Institute.
The eleven individuals who have received the non-retainer contracts include; Eimear Richardson, Lara Maritz, Louise Little, Rebecca Stokell, Una Raymond-Hoey, Hannah Little, Leah Paul, Orla Prendergast, Sophie MacMahon, Cara Murray and Louise McCarthy.
The part-time professional contracts of Laura Delany, Shauna Kavanagh, Mary Waldron, Gaby Lewis, and Celeste Raack, which were first introduced in 2019, have also been extended for 2020.
Kim Garth, who was among those contracted last year, declined the offer and instead chose to sign with Cricket Victoria.
Australia’s coach Matthew Mott, who was part of Ireland’s coaching staff during the 2015 men’s ODI World Cup, predicted that Kim Garth’s switch from Ireland to Victoria should ignite the push towards professional contracts in the Irish women’s game, to stave off the risk of losing a generation of female talent to wealthier nations.
“It’s incredibly important and maybe this is a good thing for Irish cricket – I think it might help fast-track some stuff for their professionalisation,” Mott said.
“They surely don’t want to be losing good players and I know that happened in the men’s game. A number of the best Irish players were going to play for England and one ended up captaining England, so I think they’ve certainly improved in that area.
It seems to have been the case as yesterday, Cricket Ireland announced these new deals, which brings the Irish set-up closer to a fully professional game.
“The newly introduced non-retainer contracts are a further step on the road to a professionalised women’s game,” a release from Cricket Ireland said.
Richard Holdsworth, high performance director for Cricket Ireland, added: “We are pleased that we can further invest in the senior women’s squad through these new benefits contracts. Given the nature and profile of our players, we needed to provide a greater level of support and service to the fitness, health, conditioning and, most important, access to services that they need year-round. The medical and healthcare coverage alone will provide some peace-of-mind to the squad, and we hope to continue to build on these in subsequent years.”