Irish cricket will have its first ever full-time professional women’s team in 2022 as part of an investment programme announced by Cricket Ireland.
A commitment to invest €1.5m in women’s cricket in Ireland has seen 20 professional contracts offered, seven of which are full-time contracts, nine part-time, and four non-retainers.
All full-time contracts will start this month, meaning Ireland will have the country’s first-ever full-professional women’s cricketers going into the 2022 summer season.
The part-time contracts are designed to support players who are in education, offering the financial support to fund their training, development and summer playing schedule.
“The work behind-the-scenes to get to this point has - in reality - been three years in the making,” Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland, said.
“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.”
The total €1.5m announced on Thursday, 10 March, represents a three-fold increase on spending from 2019.
“It is important to note that today’s announcements are not a case of ‘done and dusted’,” Richard Holdsworth, High Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, said.
“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.”
In addition to the confirmation of the 20 playing contracts, Cricket Ireland have confirmed that head coach Ed Joyce has agreed a three-year extension to his contract.
And Joyce will oversee a busy summer, with Ireland to host Australia, South Africa and Pakistan in a busy schedule.
Ireland v South Africa confirmed fixtures
- 3 June 2022: Ireland Women v South Africa Women – 1stT20I (Pembroke)
- 6 June 2022: Ireland Women v South Africa Women – 2ndT20I (Pembroke)
- 8 June 2022: Ireland Women v South Africa Women – 3rdT20I (Pembroke)
- 11 June 2022: Ireland Women v South Africa Women – 1stODI (Clontarf)
- 14 June 2022: Ireland Women v South Africa Women – 1stODI (Clontarf)
- 17 June 2022: Ireland Women v South Africa Women – 1stODI (Clontarf)
The three ODIs will be Ireland Women’s first fixtures as part of the ICC Women’s Championship.
Confirmed tri-series fixtures with Australia and Pakistan
- 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)
Picture credit: Oisin Keniry