Niall O'Brien: Ireland and Warriors wicketkeeper retires at 36

Niall O'Brien

Ireland wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O’Brien has retired at 36 after making 216 international appearances.

O’Brien made his Ireland debut in 2002 and became their most successful wicketkeeper with 241 dismissals.

He also finished his career as the fourth highest run-scorer for Ireland with 6,097 runs at an average of 31.59.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my retirement but I look back with nothing but smiles and laughter,” said O’Brien.

O’Brien’s county career included spells with Kent, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire while he finished with North-West Warriors in the Irish interprovincial series.

He scored eight centuries and 33 half-centuries, while his highest score of 176 against United Arab Emirates in 2005 was almost eclipsed three years later when he hit 174 against the same side.

A smiling Niall O'Brien slides in for a single in Ireland inaugural Test match against Pakistan in May<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

O’Brien has played much of his career in green alongside his younger brother Kevin, while he is the son of former Irish international Brendan ‘Ginger’ O’Brien.

He chose the squad number 72 in honour of his match-winning total in the famous Irish win over Pakistan at the World Cup in 2007.

“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,” added O’Brien.

“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.”

Ireland coach Graham Ford said O’Brien was a “fine example of what a professional cricketer should be”.

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