Ireland all-rounder Kim Garth signs two-year pro deal in Australia

Cricket Ireland agree to let talented 24-year-old follow dream with Cricket Victoria

Ireland international all-rounder Kim Garth has signed a two-year professional contract with Cricket Victoria in Australia.

Cricket Ireland agreed to submit a no objection certificate to allow the 24-year-old complete the deal, which the Pembroke CC player admitted was not an easy one to make.

“To leave family, friends and the whole Irish cricket community was a very difficult decision and one I did not take lightly,” said Garth, who has been capped 110 times at international level.

“However, my ambition has always been to be a full-time professional cricketer and to play at the highest level. A chance like this doesn’t present itself too often, so I am keen to seize this opportunity.

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“I will miss being part of the Irish squad, and indeed all the staff I have worked with at Cricket Ireland – I am very grateful and conscious of the opportunities afforded to me by Cricket Ireland over the years. But I have also learned a lot living and playing cricket in Australia and hope that, at some future time, I can bring this experience home and give back in some way.”

Garth has spent several Irish winters playing cricket in Australia, including three seasons of Women's Big Bash League participation, which brought her two competition winners medals. Her performances for Dandenong Cricket Club this past season saw her named joint winner of the Una Paisley Medal, which represents the player judged most valuable player over the course of the women's one-day season in Victoria.

Ireland women's head coach Ed Joyce admitted that Garth will be a huge loss to the international side over the period of her contract.

“This is obviously a blow, there is no way around that. To lose one of your leading players anytime is a challenge, but I can understand Kim’s decision-making and she has been quite open with her ambitions,” said the former Ireland batsman.

“Ambition is a good thing, though – I want our players to be ambitious for Ireland and for their careers. However, the reality is that it will take a few years for us to be in a position to offer our women cricketers full-time opportunities. We’re on that road, like we did with the men’s contracts, but I am optimistic we will get there with patience and commitment.

“There is now a golden opportunity for those next generation of players to step forward and play a significant role in the evolution of the squad, and we have a talented cohort of players coming through the system that will be eager to advance their cricket careers.

“In the meantime, we are back in training and focusing on our plans for the upcoming World Cup Qualifier. It has been a great relief to us all to get back into the nets and I have enjoyed re-connecting with the team in person, rather than via a screen.”