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Irish hand six women historic pro deals


First call-up: Naomi Matthews is in Ireland Women’s squad
First call-up: Naomi Matthews is in Ireland Women’s squad

By Ian Callender

Six women took centre stage in Dublin yesterday as they were announced as the first part-time professional Ireland cricketers, another giant leap forward for the sport on this island.

Captain Laura Delany, Kim Garth, Gaby Lewis, Shauna Kavanagh, Mary Waldron and Celeste Raack, who relocated from Australia in the last year, have all been given contracts by Cricket Ireland ahead of an important year for the Women's team, when they will try to qualify for the Twenty20 World Cup and keep their current top-10 ranking for a place in the ICC Women's Championship which starts in 2021.

Their first action of the summer is three T20 internationals against West Indies at the end of the month and included in the squad of 13 for the first time is former Donaghcloney Mill player Naomi Matthews. The 21-year-old Loughborough University student plays her club cricket with Merrion.

The games against the West Indies are at YMCA on May 26 and Pembroke on May 28 and 29.

Ireland Wolves' victory over Bangladesh on Sunday got a huge boost yesterday when the Tigers defeated West Indies in their first game of the Tri-Series at Castle Avenue yesterday.

Showing just three changes from the team that lost to the Wolves by 88 runs at The Hills, Bangladesh restricted the Windies to 261-9 and knocked off the runs with eight wickets and five overs to spare.

Ireland play Bangladesh in the next game of the series at Malahide tomorrow morning (10.45am).

Scores: West Indies 261-9 (50 overs, S Hope 109, R Chase 51, S Ambris 38; M Mortaza 3-49, Saifuddin 2-47, Mustafizur Rahman 2-84) Bangladesh 264-2 (45 overs, Tamim Iqbal 80, Soumya Sarkar 73, Shakib Al Hasan 61no, Mushfiqur Rahim 32no). Bangladesh won by eight wickets.

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