International Rugby League

IRFU Statement: 43 Women's Player Contracts Worth Up To €30,000

IRFU Statement: 43 Women's Player Contracts Worth Up To €30,000

The IRFU announced it will offer 43 centralized contracts to Ireland women's players and make Gillian McDarby as head of women's performance and pathways.

Aug 5, 2022 by RugbyPass
IRFU Statement: 43 Women's Player Contracts Worth Up To €30,000

The IRFU has announced it will offer 43 centralized contracts to elite Ireland women's players next season and appoint Gillian McDarby as head of women's performance and pathways. 

The contracts, which include agreements already in place for members of the women's sevens program, have been benchmarked internationally and will be worth up to €30,000 (£25,234), plus match fees and bonuses.

The news comes after the women's game in Ireland was affected by a series of high-profile gaffes in recent years.

CEO Kevin Potts said in a statement: "The creation of up to 43 IRFU contracts for women's players is a further strong signal of our intent to foster and grow the women's game over the coming years and to ensure that our women's players are provided with the best opportunities to compete at the highest levels of the game in the future."

McDarby, who was appointed following an "extensive recruitment process," will be responsible for the development and delivery of the governing body's performance program for the women's game, including XVs and sevens.

She will work to grow the playing base of young women and girls and be tasked with developing a "cohesive player pathway," which connects and feeds the needs of both national programs.

The former elite cyclist has held various previous roles with the IRFU, including women's rugby national teams program manager between 2014 and 2016, having also been women's national team manager and a director for Cycling Ireland. 

"I believe there is a huge growth opportunity for the women's game in Ireland, and I am looking forward to working with all stakeholders to bring the women's game to the next level," McDarby said. "It is also pleasing that my appointment coincides with the formal announcement of contracts for up to 43 female players. This is a major step forward for women's rugby in Ireland."

Due to this month's test matches in Japan, and the Sevens World Cup in September in South Africa, the IRFU will wait to discuss contract details with players before publicizing further information.