Four umpires have been awarded full-time season contracts by Cricket Ireland.
Alan Neill, Paul Reynolds, Roland Black and Mark Hawthorne will benefit from the restructuring move by Cricket Ireland’s Umpire Panels.
The move also results in double the number of female umpires on the Panels.
The restructure of the Cricket Ireland Umpire Panels will see the creation of a First-Class Panel of 11 umpires - four of which have been awarded full-time season contracts and will stand in the majority of Inter-Provincial Series matches - and Representative Panel of five umpires, who will stand primarily in the remainder of the representative fixture list.
Furthermore, as part of the development of women umpires, Cricket Ireland has doubled the number of women umpires on the Umpires Panels, with Mary Waldron continuing on the First-class Panel, and Laura Caughey being appointed to the Representative Panel.
Richard Holdsworth, Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, said:
“As we grow the sport of cricket in Ireland, there has become a more pressing need to upskill and invest in the quality and expertise of our match officials. Over the last few years we have invested heavily in the playing and coaching staff of our international teams, created a new Academy and pathway system, and began to provide funding for the upgrade and improvement to grassroots and club facilities.
“Two key drivers – full membership of the ICC and the recognition of our domestic men’s competition with first-class status – have highlighted the need to invest further not only those playing the game, but also those officiating the game. If we are to truly deliver world-class cricket in Ireland, we need to have world-class umpires.
“Alan, Paul, Roly and Mark have been great long-term servants of the game, collectively with more than 60 years umpiring experience in Ireland and abroad. While they already represent Ireland on the International Cricket Council’s International Panel of ICC Umpires, we are delighted to be able to provide full-time season contracts for the first time throughout the summer season, and can think of no more worthy recipients than these four officials.”