Isobel Joyce celebrates 100th Ireland cap against Sri Lanka

Isobel Joyce
Isobel Joyce in action against Sri Lanka

Isobel Joyce became the second woman to win 100 caps for Ireland by playing against Sri Lanka in the ICC World Twenty20 qualifiers on Saturday.

The 30-year-old sister of Irish batsman Ed Joyce has been an ever-present in the side since making her debut against India in 1999.

She has captained her country 33 times, one behind Miriam Grealey's record.

The Irish lost by eight wickets to Sri Lanka and were then defeated by nine wickets by Pakistan in the last four.

Ireland now face a third-fourth place play-off, probably against the Netherlands, as they aim to secure a place at the World Cup finals in Bangladesh.

"It seems like a lifetime ago that I got my first cap for Ireland as a 15-year-old and, of course, at that stage you aren't thinking about getting to 100 at all," said Joyce.

"Now though it's great to be joining Clare Shillington in the 100 club, and I hope more and more of the women's team pass the century mark in the coming years as our fixtures list expands."

Looking back on her illustrious career, the Merrion all-rounder finds it easy to single out a few highlights and thanks her cricketing family for their encouragement and support.

"Hitting [Australian fast bowler] Catherine Fitzpatrick for four through the covers when batting at No 11 in the 2000 World Cup stands out in the memory," she said.

"Also up there is taking six wickets in an innings of our Test match against Pakistan at College Park in 2000. That's a special memory.

"I was also captain of a Europe XI which won the European Cup when England entered a development team."

"My five brothers, all of whom have coached me and helped me in different ways, were an obvious influence.

"Others who have helped me along the way were Eddie and Ursula Lewis without whom I would never have been able to play or train as much as I have been able to, and Chris Torissi who was my coach when I broke into the Ireland team.

Clare Shillington made just one run against Sri Lanka
Clare Shillington was the first Irish women to reach 100 caps

"As a player, Miriam Grealey was a brilliant captain to play under as a teenager - she taught me a huge amount."

Reaching a world finals would be a dream for Joyce who has seen the game take off in Ireland during her 14 years at the top.

"The women's game has changed a huge amount since my debut in 1999 - all for the better I think - and I'm delighted to still be involved after all these years," she said.

"It's a huge honour gain 100 caps for your country and I'm just so happy to be receiving it while playing in such an important tournament, with such a great bunch of girls and with my sister Cecelia in the team."

Ireland Women's coach Jeremy Bray is quick to pay tribute to a captain who leads from the front and always gives 100 per cent.

"It's a magnificent achievement for any sports person to represent their country 100 times. It's a testament to Isobel's hard work and dedication over 14 years in the senior team," he said.

"Isobel is an exceptionally talented all-rounder and she has much more to give to this team who I believe are on the cusp of really advancing in world cricket.