Farewell to the grannies
David Townsend (Irish Independent)
Isobel Joyce and twin sister Cecelia sprang a surprise during Ireland’s post-match huddle at the end of the World T20 tournament in Guyana by announcing they would also be retiring from international cricket, along with Clare Shillington and Ciara Metcalfe.
The veteran quartet, affectionately known as ‘the grannies’ by their younger team-mates, have spent 76 of their collective 146 years representing Ireland, jointly winning 576 caps, and contributing 8,788 runs, 266 wickets and 149 catches.
Shillington and Metcalfe had made their intentions clear well before Saturday’s final Group B game – a nine-wicket loss to New Zealand – but the 35-year-old twins took everyone by surprise as they also left the field to a guard of honour.
“Cecelia, Ciara, Shills and Isobel have been four incredible servants,” captain Kim Garth said.
“I don’t think Irish women’s cricket would be anywhere near where it is today without them. They’re going to be a huge loss both on and off the field.
“They’re absolute champions on the field but champions off the field as well. And yeah, we’re going to miss them a lot.”
Of the four, Shillington’s power at the top of the order has made her a key player in the shortest forms, Metcalfe can look back on match-winning spells of leg-spin and Cecelia Joyce is known for her elegance and quality as an opening bat.
But it will be former captain Isobel Joyce’s all round contribution that will be the biggest loss. Like Shillington and Metcalfe, she made her Ireland debut in the last century and is the closest to a full-time professional among the Girls in Green.