Irish women’s cricket team offered first ever full-time contracts

News to be confirmed on Thursday with choice of full-time or part-time deals

Cricket Ireland is set to announce full-time contracts for its international women’s side. This would mark the first time fully professional deals have been signed by an Irish women’s squad. The governing body will confirm a revamped contract structure on Thursday.

The Irish Times understands that those in the Ireland performance squad, a group totalling 20 players, have been offered the choice between full-time or part-time deals. Given the young age profile of the side and the number of players still in education, it seems probable that both types of contract have been taken up. The deals are likely to be structured in four tiers in terms of salary amount.

All the details were decided when Cricket Ireland’s board met last month to put together its budget for the 2022 season.

The move to improved contracts has been necessitated by Ireland’s upcoming participation in the ICC Women’s Championship, a multi-year competition that determines qualification for the 50 over World Cup. Ireland’s inclusion in the championship for the first time means an increase in the number of fixtures, therefore necessitating more access to the players, something which is reflected by the new contracts.


Ireland were awarded a place in the championship after November’s World Cup qualifying event in Zimbabwe was cancelled when travel restrictions were imposed due to the spread of the Omicron variant in the country. With the competition incomplete, qualification for the World Cup - currently ongoing in New Zealand - was determined on world ranking, meaning Ireland missed out.

However, a top five finish was awarded in the qualifier which was good enough for a spot in the next cycle of the Women’s Championship.

Ahead of the upcoming season, Cricket Ireland announced via its Green Ball podcast on Wednesday that South Africa are travelling to Ireland for a bilateral series. Two other series are on the verge of being pencilled in, with Pakistan and Australia reportedly visiting ahead of their participation in the Commonwealth Games, due to get underway at the end of July.

During the 2021 season, seven of the international squad played on part-time retainer contracts, including captain Laura Delany and player of the year Gaby Lewis. A further 12 players signed non-retainer deals.

Speaking back in January, head coach Ed Joyce confirmed to The Irish Times that a new contract structure was on the way. "It's no secret that with more games and a big fixture list in front of us we need more access to our players" he said.

“The only real way of doing that is trying to ensure we have a core group with contracts. That is all down to Cricket Ireland and the Irish Cricketers’ Association, the players’ association, to thrash out and then for the players to agree with because a lot of it, well all of it, comes down to funding and if the players are happy with whatever is offered to them.”