O’Leary was the assistant coach of Western Storm during the last season of the now defunct Women’s Cricket Super League (WCSL) in 2019 and previously worked as the head coach of Cardiff MCCU and has also served the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as a coach developer.
“I’m really excited to have been named as permanent head coach,” said O’Leary after the announcement was made on Sunday (August 23). “I loved working with Western Storm last year as assistant coach and really enjoyed every moment. It was great to win the competition, but to be involved in the women’s game with the squad that we had was outstanding. To be able to have the opportunity to lead Western Storm into a new era is something that I’m really looking forward to.”
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44-year-old O’Leary said he wants to help players realise their potential and the goal is to produce players who can represent England in the future.
“I like to think that I run a tight ship, but at the same time allow the players to have a bit of fun too. The key is that I’m very passionate about what I do. It’s vital that we enable the players to develop and reach their potential with the goal being to produce players who go on to play for their country,” he said.
Lisa Pagett, regional director of women’s cricket for the South West and Wales, welcomed O’Leary's appointment and said his experience and knowledge will be an asset for the region.
“I’m delighted that Mark will be leading Western Storm as head coach on a full-time basis. He brings a huge amount of knowledge and experience with him and is hugely respected by both the players and the coaching network within the region,” said Pagett. "The passion, desire and vision for Western Storm he demonstrated throughout the interview process made him the stand-out candidate in a very competitive field.”
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“Mark has done an outstanding job in leading the Cardiff MCCU program, which has developed some brilliant talent in the female game and developed an impressive number of players who have moved onto First Class cricket,” she added.
Echoing Pagett's words, Will Brown, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, said: “Mark is hugely respected in the region and I have no doubt that he will have a huge impact on the players, the program and the staff group to ensure that Western Storm is a force to be reckoned with in the new Women’s Elite Domestic Structure.”
Western Storm will take on South East Stars in their first match of the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint trophy on Saturday. The trio of Sophie Luff, Danielle Gibson and Fi Morris have been named in the squad as part of the ECB’s domestic retainers. Storm is yet to announce rest of the squad members.