International captain, Team Manager, Chair of National Selectors and coach – these are just a few of the roles Irish cricket legend Miriam Grealey has held over the last 40 years.
On Monday, she announced “all good things must come to an end” and announced she will step down this month as Ireland Women’s selector, ending a 40-year involvement in international cricket.
Raised in Dublin and playing primarily with YMCA, Rush and Pembroke Cricket Clubs, she made her international debut in 1985 – playing 79 one-day internationals and one Test match – rising to the national captaincy and breaking many records along the way.
After retiring from the international team in 2005, she continued her involvement with Irish women’s cricket as team manager, coach and Chair of National Selectors.
Acknowledged as an inspiration and role model for Irish cricketers for generations, in 2017, Grealey has been recognised variously, including her induction into the Cricket Writers of Ireland Hall of Fame in 2017, and international recognition from the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) with Honorary Life Membership for her services to cricket. Although her involvement in Irish cricket has been extensive, Grealey admits there was no ‘grand plan’ behind the last four decades.
“How did I stay in cricket so long? Quite simply my love of the game, and every aspect of it – with the exception of manager!”
Her introduction to cricket was fortuitous and not out of any family or community tradition: “I went to school at St. Andrews College where there was boys’ cricket, but only hockey for the girls. When I was in fifth year in 1982, one of the teachers Caroline Watson – who at the time played cricket for YMCA and Ireland – asked around to see if any girls were interested in learning the sport.
“So, from chucking a tennis ball around in PE classes to actually playing in the school league the following year, I was hooked.”
She cites her first century for Ireland against Pakistan as a stand-out memory along with a 50 against Australia in College Park.
“I guess though my proudest moment was winning the European Cup with Ireland in 2001, our first major trophy beating England in the final.”
She has decided to step back now as a result of the increasing workload of national selector is no longer compatible to balance with her job and family life.