Ireland wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O’Brien has called it a day, announcing his retirement across formats on Friday (October 12). Having made his debut in 2002 against Denmark in an ODI, O’Brien called it a day after 16 years, aged 36 now, finishing as Ireland’s most successful wicketkeeper with 241 international dismissals. He even featured in Ireland’s historic maiden Test against Pakistan earlier in the year.
“It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my retirement from international and professional cricket,” he said. “I have been blessed to have been lucky enough to have represented my country for 16 years with plenty more ups than downs and for this, I look back with nothing but smiles and laughter.
“I would like to thank all my coaches and teammates who along the way have helped me become the player I was. I have had too many coaches to mention them all but a special thanks must go to Adrian “Adi” Birrell who took a chance on me in 2002 and who arranged a trial at Kent from where I started my 14-year county career which was an absolute privilege and an honour.”
He has featured in one Test, 103 one-dayers and 30 T20Is for Ireland, and finishes as the fifth-highest run-scorer for Ireland with 3065 runs at an average of 25.54.
“I always tried to play with a smile on my face and with an enjoyment that I think all people could see whether watching from the stands, standing with me in the field or coming up against me for the opposition. Hard work was always behind my performance and I will take this same ethos into the next phase of my career where I have been working in the Sports Agency business for the last 2 years alongside my playing commitments and will continue to pursue this avenue.
“I have always had a keen interest in working within the media and I am extremely keen to gain more opportunities moving forward and with Ireland having more exposure on the global stage I am hopeful to be working on plenty of Ireland games in the near future. I will also be looking to put my Level 3 coaching badge to good use and hope to work with some of the next generation moving forward.
“To all at Cricket Ireland, a sincere thank you for allowing me to wear the shamrock for 16 years. There are too many fond memories to mention so I just wish the team and the organisation all the very best for the future and I will be watching keenly from afar. From playing relatively small fixtures at the start of my career to competing and winning world cup matches to being there to play in our first Test match meant I have achieved more than I could have ever dreamt and for this, I look back with nothing but fondness,” he said.