Cricket Ireland has unveiled the recipients of the first ever part-time professional contracts for women cricketers and Laura Delany, Kim Garth, Mary Waldron, Shauna Kavanagh, Gaby Lewis and Celeste Raack are the six players chosen to receive improved terms.
Cricket Ireland Performance Director Richard Holdsworth said:
“Today marks a significant landmark in our women’s game – we’re not just here to launch the new international season, but to announce six part-time player contracts – the first-ever in cricket in this country, and making cricket one of very few team sports in Ireland to have professionally-contracted women players.”
“Our women’s programme medium-term objective is to qualify for the ICC Women’s Championship in 2021 – a guaranteed 3-year programme of international fixtures just like our men have now, through the Future Tours Programme. These contracts put in place the foundation blocks that will help us as a cricket nation to achieve our goal.”
Ireland’s captain Laura Delany expressed her happiness upon hearing the news and said, “I’m very excited and delighted to have been included in the small pool of players selected for a contract as Cricket Ireland take a big step forward in the women’s game," she said. "Personally, there are certain aspects of my game that I’ve have been trying to develop further. Hopefully this will allow me to spend more time working and focusing on my game whilst not having to commit to a full-time job. “From a captaincy point of view, this means I will have more contact time with players which should have a positive impact on our development as a group”, she added.
Wicketkeeper Mary Waldron also showed her excitement and said, “It shows they are taking women’s cricket seriously and hopefully it’s puts some pressure on more dominant sports in Ireland to start backing their women and giving them the chance to progress in their sport also."