Tributes have been paid to Tim Murtagh who has announced his retirement from Ireland after opting to sign a two-year deal with his county, Middlesex.
Graham Ford, Head Coach of Ireland said:
“It’s sad to see such a great player leave our ranks, but Tim has been a model professional and a great asset to have in the dressing room. His performances on the pitch were top-class, but it is also the weight of experience and knowledge of the game that he brought to benefit young bowlers within the Irish setup that made his involvement invaluable.
“Irish cricket made the right call when it signed Tim up back in 2012, and he can be proud of the positive impact he has had on Irish cricket. I wish Tim well in his next couple of seasons for Middlesex.”
Andrew Balbirnie, Ireland captain, said:
“While I have played with Murts since 2012, and there have been plenty of memorable moments over that time, it is what has now become his last match for Ireland that will stay with me for life. The feeling we had as a team walking out onto the turf at Lord’s on the first morning was a buzz, but standing at slip and watching Murts run in for that first ball somehow gave us a sense of confidence about the day. Saying that, we didn’t expect the morning we had, but his five-wicket haul before lunch is something that is now etched in Irish cricket folklore. Definitely Murts’ reaction when he took his fifth wicket will stay with me forever.
“In any team you play in, especially as captain, the value of having some experienced heads around the squad is invaluable. While I won’t have Tim to call on going forward, I’ve appreciated his support and advice in the past – and his sense of humour within the camp. He is the ideal sort of teammate you need on long tours or during hard fought matches, and was a source of inspiration for many. His consistency week-in, week-out in all sorts of conditions was a huge part of some important wins. Indeed, the impact he has had on our young seam bowlers and their development cannot be underestimated.
“I wish Tim all the best with the remainder of his playing career for Middlesex.”
Ed Joyce, former international and county cricket teammate, said:
“It goes without saying that we’re going to miss Murts massively. His quality with the ball is unquestioned, but it is also the sense of calm he brought to the side knowing exactly what you were going to get every time he ran in that we’ll also miss. In an era where pace is often regarded as the be-all and end-all, he has shown that good old fashioned line and length and relentlessness is still as good an asset as it always has been.
“My favourite Irish cricket memory as a spectator is watching us bowl England out on the first day of the Test at Lord’s. The whole team made everyone watching so proud, but Murts in particular was absolutely top class that day. Managing to get his name on the honours board at the Home of Cricket is a quite incredible achievement.
“Something that is also not often spoken about is the fact that he rarely got injured which is extremely unusual for a fast bowler. This shows the work he did off the field to stay fit and all those extra sessions in the gym that people on the outside wouldn’t have seen.
“He’s also a brilliant bloke with a wicked sense of humour and the dressing room will be a very different, and less entertaining, place without him. Without doubt he has been one of Ireland’s greatest cricketers. I’m proud to have played alongside him both for Middlesex and Ireland and I hope we see him helping our younger bowlers in the future in some way. Murts, congrats on an amazing Ireland career.”
Richard Holdsworth, Performance Director at Cricket Ireland, said:
“On behalf of the management and staff of Cricket Ireland I’d like to thank Tim for his eight years of service to Irish cricket. It only seems like the other day that we were organising the paperwork to allow him to declare for Ireland - while you always hope for the best when opportunities like that arise, little did we know the impact he would have on the international setup.
“Irish cricket has been on quite a journey over the last decade, and Tim has certainly played a key role in our rise. That the Lord’s Test will be his last game for us is very appropriate, and he certainly gave a lot of Irish fans great pleasure on that first morning having written his name on the Honour’s Board before Lunch.
“We know how hard the decision was for him, but we wish Tim, Karina and his family well. I would also like to thank Angus Fraser and all at Middlesex Cricket for their support and flexibility in working with us on Tim’s availability for internationals and tours. Cricket Ireland and Middlesex have had a great relationship over many years, and it is always appreciated when club and country can work so well together for the benefit of the player.”