Cricket Ireland has announced five part-time senior women's professional contracts for this year which is one less than the six handed out last year.
Laura Delany, Shauna Kavanagh, Mary Waldron, Gaby Lewis and Celeste Raack were five of the six women to be given the first ever professional deals by Cricket Ireland and they have all re-signed for this year.
The sixth was Kim Garth who turned down the Cricket Ireland contract offer for this year to take up a two-year full-time professional deal with Cricket Victoria, which is why the announcement for this year's contracts was delayed.
"Despite these contracts being in place for several months, we had to delay the public announcement of women’s contracts until after the Kim Garth situation was concluded," explained the High Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, Richard Holdsworth.
"Given the uncertainty over the impact of the pandemic and the rescheduling of the World Cup Qualifier, we will delay a decision on how to invest the residual funds.
"The funds may be able to provide additional contact hours with the players or additional warm-up preparation and matches, for example, once we know the timing of the Qualifier."
Ireland were due to take place in the ICC World Cup qualifier in July but it was postponed and a rescheduled date has still not been announced.
Cricket Ireland have also announced that 11 cricketers will be signed up to non-retainer contracts for the first time in what it says is "a further step on the road to a professionalised women’s game" in Ireland.
Eimear Richardson, Lara Maritz, Louise Little, Rebecca Stokell, Una Raymond-Hoey, Hannah Little, Leah Paul, Orla Prendergast, Sophie MacMahon, Cara Murray and Louise McCarthy have all taken up the deal which includes the following year-round benefits:
• medical and healthcare insurance;
• strength and conditioning support;
• psychology, nutrition, performance analysis, lifestyle management and specialist coaching support;
• loss of earnings for all competition periods;
• match fees for all international matches; and
• for ROI players, full access to the Sport Ireland Sports Institute.
"We are pleased that we can further invest in the senior women’s squad through these new benefits contracts," added Holdsworth.
"Given the nature and profile of our players, we needed to provide a greater level of support and service to the fitness, health, conditioning and, most important, access to services that they need year-round.
"The medical and healthcare coverage alone will provide some peace-of-mind to the squad, and we hope to continue to build on these in subsequent years."
Download the brand new OffTheBall App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!
Subscribe to OffTheBall's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.