Injuries to bowlers Jane Maguire and Ava Canning have forced Ireland into making two changes from their recent tri-series squad ahead of a trip to the Netherlands later this month. Laura Delany’s side will travel to face the Dutch in a three-match ODI series starting on August 22nd.
After recently rolling over it recently, it has emerged that Maguire has torn ligaments in her ankle. Canning has picked up a knee injury and will know more about her recover timeline after seeing a specialist on Tuesday.
Called up to replace them are Louise Little, who is named in a national squad for the first time this summer after previously being unavailable due to exams, and Kate McEvoy. Little last appeared for Ireland during last year’s T20 World Cup qualifiers, while McEvoy was a part of an injury-depleted squad that took on South Africa in June but is yet to debut.
In other news, New Zealand-born Arlene Kelly has been offered a central contract, bringing the number of players on full-time deals to seven. A further 14 players are on education or non-retainer deals.
It completes a remarkable rise to fully professional deal for Kelly. When arriving in Ireland in May to play club cricket for Malahide and in the Super Series for the Dragons, the former Auckland player had thoughts of ultimately using her Irish passport to play in green but could not have envisioned a call-up so soon.
When injuries and state exam commitments took their toll on the Irish squad ahead of the visit of South Africa, head coach Ed Joyce picked up the phone and Kelly, whose grandparents hail from Monaghan, was called in.
Since then she has gone on to play nine times for Ireland, taking seven wickets across T20Is and ODIs. Her T20I economy sits at 7.35, while the figure in ODIs is 4.14. Kelly notably took 2-25 on her debut as Ireland started off their summer with an upset win over South Africa.
“I’ve dreamt of being able to play cricket professionally for years,” said Kelly upon the announcement. “So for the dream to become a reality was a bit of a pinch myself moment. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience with Irish cricket so far – the players and staff have been extremely welcoming, and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of adapting to different conditions and scenarios.
“Looking ahead, there’s plenty of cricket and a lot of healthy competition within the squad - which can only be a good thing. The prospect of being involved in a T20 World Cup early next year is a key focus for the squad at the moment and something that we are going to give everything to. It’s an exciting time to be involved in women’s cricket in Ireland.”
Ireland squad for tour of Netherlands:
Laura Delany (capt), Rachel Delaney, Georgina Dempsey, Amy Hunter, Shauna Kavanagh, Arlene Kelly, Gaby Lewis, Louise Little, Sophie MacMahon, Kate McEvoy, Cara Murray, Leah Paul, Orla Prendergast, Mary Waldron.
Monday 22 August: Netherlands Women v Ireland Women, 1st ODI (VRA Amstelveen)
Wednesday 24 August: Netherlands Women v Ireland Women, 2nd ODI (VRA Amstelveen)
Friday 26 August: Netherlands Women v Ireland Women, 3rd ODI (VCC Voorburg)