Pembroke pace bowler Louise McCarthy has been added to the Ireland squad after an absence of three years.

McCarthy won the first of her 74 caps as a 16 year-old back in 2010, and went on to win 67 caps in a five year spell, before falling out of favour with the selectors.

(Louise McCarthy)

Having played only a further seven times between 2015 and 2017, she took a step away from the game after her last game in 2017, an ODI in a World Cup qualifier against India in Sri Lanka.

Her break from international cricket saw her complete studies for a Masters of Diagnostic Radiography in Edinburgh.

“Returning to the Irish squad wasn’t something I had completely written off, but my studies had become the priority," said McCarthy.

"Then I was lucky enough to play for Durham last season in their 50-over and 20-over competitions, and that experience reinstated my fire for cricket. Playing with top quality players and against tough opponents week-on-week was something I realised I missed.

(McCarthy picks up another wicket against Pakistan during the 2014 T20 World Cup)

"It’s a huge honour to be back in the squad. Most of them I would have been familiar with through playing Super 3’s over the years – there are still a few ‘old’ girls on the scene that played when I did. So it doesn’t feel a whole lot different - but I now feel old, if anything!

“Ed Joyce has been fantastic - really accommodating and approachable, so essentially it’s been a nice environment to train in. I’m looking forward to getting back into competitive action soon.”

Head Coach Ed Joyce welcomed McCarthy back into the fold, citing her experience and enthusiasm for the game as key benefits to a youthful squad.

“Louise’s addition to the senior squad is a boost for us all ahead of what will be an important period for this side. Her influence and enthusiasm has been felt by her teammates already, and she returns to the set-up understanding the challenge ahead.

(McCarthy roars with delight)

“While we look forward to returning to competitive action soon, the last week’s training has provided welcome relief and the squad has come through lockdown in relatively good shape."

Ireland were due to play in a World Cup Qualifier next month in Sri Lanka, but that has been postponed by ICC, who are expected to provide an update on the tournament status at their next meeting in July.

McCarthy now becomes the 17th player in the performance squad. Cricket Ireland awarded six part-time professional contracts for the first time in May 2019, when skipper Laura Delany, Kim Garth, Mary Waldron, Gaby Lewis, Shauna Kavanagh and Celeste Raack were the beneficiaries.

(Louise McCarthy bowling against Netherlands at Bready)

Ireland Women Performance Squad

  • Laura Delany (Leinster)
  • Kim Garth (Pembroke)
  • Mary Waldron (Pembroke)
  • Orla Prendergast (Pembroke)
  • Celeste Raack (Merrion)
  • Shauna Kavanagh (Pembroke)
  • Gaby Lewis (YMCA)
  • Una Raymond-Hoey (Leinster)
  • Rebecca Stokell (Leinster)
  • Sophie MacMahon (Leinster)
  • Lara Maritz (Clontarf)
  • Leah Paul (Merrion)
  • Louise Little (Pembroke)
  • Hannah Little (Pembroke)
  • Cara Murray (Waringstown)
  • Eimear Richardson (Johnsonville, NZ)
  • Louise McCarthy (Pembroke)