Photo Credit: Sportsfile
Just over 13 years to the day from her international debut, Mary Waldron – Ireland Women’s most-capped player – has announced her retirement from playing cricket ending an international career that included 184 appearances and 148 dismissals.
Dublin-born Waldron, 39, was late to cricket, first having forged a football career that led to senior international representation for Ireland. It wasn’t until her mid-20s that she committed to cricket and quickly began to establish herself as Ireland Women’s number one wicketkeeper.
Waldron, who played 56 one-day internationals and 88 T20 internationals, was renowned for her quick hands and agile footwork. She captained the senior side 10 times (with a 60% win rate) and was a central part of Ireland Women’s senior leadership team, as influential off as on the field.
While her intention was to retire after the third ODI of the current series against Australia, an unfortunate injury sustained during the second ODI on Tuesday led to Waldron being ruled out of today’s playing XI.
Aside from dominating the Ireland Women’s wicketkeeping records, Waldron finishes 10th highest run-scorer for Ireland Women with a top-score of 55* against West Indies.
Speaking about her decision to retire, Waldron said:
“It’s obviously a very emotional time but I’m very proud of what I have achieved.
“I want to say a huge thank you to staff and coaches at Cricket Ireland for the opportunity to represent my country, and to Pembroke and Malahide for shaping my journey and supporting me all the way. To my family and Roxane, thank you for your support – and giving me a roof over my head whenever I needed it. More specifically, to Mum and Dad the best supporters in the world – thank you for everything.
“Finally, to my teammates, I will miss you so much, but can’t wait to follow your journey over the years ahead.”
Ed Joyce, Ireland Women’s head coach, said:
“Mary was one of those players you always wanted in your squad – a born leader both on- and off-the field, no matter the situation she could always be relied upon to rally her teammates or be a support during challenging times.
“Being someone who came relatively late to cricket, it’s incredible how she learned quickly, and how insightful and incisive she became. Not only did she lead the side on ten occasions, but her on-field support for the captain from behind the stumps became increasingly important. Her ability to read the game, quickly analyse a situation or to spot a fielding change was welcomed by successive captains.
“She will be missed greatly, by the coaches, but probably more so by her teammates who she was friend, colleague or mentor to – and sometimes all three at once. I know her playing retirement is not Mary’s loss to our sport, as she is already making her way through the umpiring ranks and I wish her well in that new primary focus.”
Laura Delany, Ireland Women’s captain, said:
“It’s a sad day when a teammate retires – but even more so when that teammate is Mary Waldron. We made our international debuts on the same day and I have loved every minute of playing alongside her.
“As a senior player within the international squad, Mary has been an invaluable support and sounding-board to me while I’ve been in the captaincy. To have a great wicketkeeper in your side is an asset – but to also have a great analytical brain being able to assess circumstances of the game from behind the stumps is a godsend, and I know she has helped me to become a better leader through our many on-field and off-field conversations.
“I’ll miss her dearly, but it’s at times like these that we should try to celebrate a legendary career and I’m sure Irish fans will let her know how highly-regarded she is – and rightly so.”
Richard Holdsworth, High Performance Director at Cricket Ireland, said:
“When Mary told me of her decision to retire, it didn’t come as a total surprise, but was still a shock. She has virtually been an ever-present of the senior set-up for 13 years and not to have M Waldron amongst the senior ranks going forward will be sad.
“However, in my role I have been fortunate to see a different side to Mary than the public see on the field of play. Her move into umpiring has been nothing short of remarkable. Her commitment and discipline to learn, her dedication to develop and improve, and her performances in Ireland and Australia have put her on the umpiring pathway to a distinguished second career in the sport.
“A further aspect of Mary’s character that has proved valuable is her involvement in the Irish Cricketers Association. Her advocacy for players rights and improved conditions, combined with her willingness to work collaboratively with Cricket Ireland has helped greatly in pushing our game forward, and in particular the women’s game.
“While I farewell Mary the player, I look forward to working with Mary the umpire and in her role with ICA over the coming years.”