Mary Waldron: Ireland wicketkeeper joins ICC Development Panel of umpires

Ireland's Mary Waldron
Waldron is Ireland's successful female wicketkeeper with 110 dismissals

Ireland wicketkeeper Mary Waldron wants to umpire a Test match one day - but she still hopes to play in one first.

Waldron, who has 127 international caps, has become the eighth woman to be appointed to the International Cricket Council's development panel of umpires.

She was one of six players to earn part-time central contracts from Cricket Ireland recently, but her umpiring career is also thriving.

"I am delighted to be appointed to the ICC panel," the 35-year-old said.

"To be honest, I fell into umpiring almost by accident five or so years ago when working as a community development officer at Malahide Cricket Club, but have developed a love for it since.

"I have spent a number of Irish winters heading out to play club cricket in Australia, and in 2015 I sought out an umpire training course with Cricket Tasmania and it went from there."

Her appointment to the development panel is the first step on the ICC pathway to the international panel - whose umpires regularly stand in top-level limited-overs internationals - and ultimately the elite panel, which provides the umpires for the majority of men's Test matches.

'I've lost track of the number of games I've umpired'

A talented athlete who has also played international football, Waldron made her Ireland debut in 2010 against New Zealand and has captained her country on 10 occasions.

She umpired her first match in 2015 and was appointed to the first-class panel of umpires in Ireland last year.

Waldron won international caps in football against the Faroe Islands and Switzerland.
Waldron has also been capped twice by the Republic of Ireland in football

"I have umpired a season in Tasmania, three seasons in South Australia and back here at home in Dublin I've stood for three seasons," Waldron continued.

"I have well and truly lost track of the number of games I've umpired, but it is somewhere between 100 and 150 at this stage. While I have enjoyed umpiring in many grounds along the way, probably the day I umpired at Adelaide Oval would be the most memorable to date."

The Dubliner lists England's Richard Kettleborough and Australia's Claire Polosak, who recently became the first female umpire of an men's ODI, among her umpiring role models but she has also been influenced by the career of former Ireland rugby international Joy Neville, who was named World Rugby referee of the year in 2017.

"She may be a referee in a different sport but I cannot praise her highly enough she just takes everything in her stride," added Waldron.

"She shows that at the end of the day we are just doing a job and it doesn't matter our gender - and she's Irish!"

Joy Neville shows a yellow card to Nick Williams of Cardiff Blues
Joy Neville was the first woman to referee a top-level men's rugby union match in the UK

As she continues to build her umpiring experience, Waldron will be part of the Ireland squad for their three-match Twenty20 series against West Indies this month and she still has plenty of goals left to achieve in both roles.

"I don't have a 'bucket list' as such," she added. "But I went to the World T20 finals in Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 2016.

"Obviously I'd like to play in a World Cup final there, but the atmosphere was electric and I did think at the time I'd like to umpire there one day.

"Oh, and a umpiring in a Test match - though again I'd rather play in one first!"

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