Mary Waldron is an Irish association football player and cricketer who has represented both the Republic of Ireland women’s national football team and the Ireland women’s cricket team. She has also stood as an umpire in cricket matches. In July 2010 Waldron made her One Day International debut for Ireland women’s cricket team, against New Zealand at Kibworth Cricket Club New Ground. She is a wicket-keeper. In June 2018, she was named in Ireland’s squad for the 2018 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament. In October 2018, she was named in Ireland’s squad for the 2018 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 tournament in the West Indies. In August 2019, she was named in Ireland’s squad for the 2019 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament in Scotland.
20×20: Questions with Mary Waldron
1. What’s your first memory of sport as a child?
My first memory of Sport as a child was playing football in the garden with my family and neighbours. We have a football pitch in the garden which had some makeshift goals made by my older brother.
2. How did you first become involved in sport?
I played football in the garden for as long as I can remember and a girl on my sisters camogie team played football also and that’s how I started playing with my local football team. I didn’t play any organised team sports in primary school so when I went to secondary school I then became involved with Basketball, Volleyball and Hockey.
3. What sports did you try as a child?
I started playing for a football team at 11. We played tennis in the garden during Wimbledon every year and I didn’t try anything else until secondary school. We played some rounders for PE at primary school but its too long ago to remember what else now!!
4. What decided you to settle on your chosen sport?
Cricket was definitely not on my radar growing up, the reason I chose it was because I loved playing it and felt I was an important part of the team.
5. Who has had the most impact on your sporting career?
There are many coaches and team mates along the way that teach and challenge you, however without the support of my parents when I was young and even now it would have been impossible to have a sports career without them. From driving me to Marino ever weekend for Irish training from the age of 13 or just being able to buy me the boots, and over the years lending me money or sending my gear bag to Australia. There are many, many things they have done for me. Both my parents equally supported me – I made my mum pay 1v1 basketball with me and my dad play 1v1 football with me! All my siblings have helped me at some stage also – I am the baby and get well looked after!
6. What female do you most admire in the world of sport?
There are several female athletes I admire in the sports world, currently I am a fan of Megan Rapinoe – She is a talented athlete but she is using her platform for good. She is empowering others and that is refreshing to see in a world where many can be just out for themselves.
7. Outside of sport what do you do in your leisure time?
The more I do these interviews the more I see that I need a hobby! I like to go for coffee or spend time with my dog. I literally spend all of time doing something related to cricket.
8. What is the last movie you went to see? What is your favourite movie of all time?
I think the last movie I went to see was “Lion” – I was crying my eyes out at the end. And my favourite movie is “we’re the millers” its very funny
9. What music do you listen to?
I listen to whatever is on the radio, I am a big fan of the Spice Girls and Paul Kelly. Not your usual mix I guess.
10. Are you a reading fan? If so what are you currently reading?
No I don’t read – The last thing I read was Joe Roots autobiography. I also need to read more!
11. Do you follow any sports stars on social media? If so who?
I follow a lot of cricketers and other sports women. Its good to see what other people are up to and if there is anything I can learn from them or support them in anyway. Its good to see how people are progressing too – like Katie McCabe, I played at lot with her when she was younger and its good to follow her career and see her become a role model.
12. Forget about your sporting diet for a moment? Your favourite meal when you breakout?
Ha I love Cadbury chocolate! And If I was getting take away I would go for a Pad Thai or Sushi
13. Who do you most admire in your own sport?
I think at the minute the whole Australian team are hard not to admire. They have really taken their cricket to the next level and are challenging the rest of the world to keep up with them. They have some serious talent at all levels. They are extremely professional, play hard and are clinical.
14. Do you have a special ritual before competing?
Generally on tour I have the same breakfast in the hotel – Which would have to include a coffee! Once we get to the ground I like to sit and relax. I have my general warm up, then I would do my specific skill drills whether we were batting or fielding. I have to take 3 high catches at some stage that’s definitely a ritual. In game then I have my own processes to help me focus on each ball.
15. Do you still play other sports for fun?
I went back and played for Shels a few years ago when we had a quiet international summer. It was the national league so I guess it wasn’t really for fun. I don’t think I’m at that stage yet. I got fined at the end of our recent tour for taking the football warm up too seriously.
16. What advice would you give to young girls & boys to encourage them to participate in sport?
Giving sports a try is the best way. Especially cricket , people think its boring or they don’t understand it so they automatically don’t like it. So I would encourage them just to try it! There are obviously massive benefits to playing sports like learning to be part of a team, dealing with set backs and things like that. I’m not sure that’s going to encourage them to take part however!!
17. What has been your biggest sporting achievement?
I’ve played in 3 T20 world cups, it was always a goal of mine to play in a world cup, I assumed it would be in football but it was cricket, but it is something I am very proud of. I have won cups with football and hockey but I guess that’s the biggest.
18. How do you cope with (a) injuries; (b) other setbacks?
I think they are things you don’t have much control over so when they happen its annoying but you set about your rehab as there is not much else you can do. During a big injury I have taken a week or so out to take my mind off sport and then set into the gym program or whatever I have been told to do. With setbacks I try and think of them logically, Is there anything I could have done better? And that’s what I need to work on. Deliberating over whether things were fair or not don’t really help so its best to look at things as they are and move forward. Trying to learn from the experience is the best thing you can do.
19. What do your family make of your success?
My family have always been very supportive, and are very proud of me. I think they found it strange when I moved from football to cricket. But now it’s a career and career pathway for me they see the benefits. My parents have been to all continents supporting me and the team. The rest of my family follow too and there will always be a picture or article shared in the family whats app group. I am one of 6 children and I’ve lots of nieces and nephews, so some or all of them might show up to a game! I am very lucky to have a family that will come out and support no matter what. They still ask questions about the rules of course!!
20. What does sport mean to you?
Sport means everything to me, I often think what I would be doing If I didn’t play or have an interest in sport. All of my friends are through sport and it has shaped my entire life. I would book holidays around sport, leave jobs and move country to fit around sport so it has been extremely influential. I do still have my school friends that I go and see and we don’t speak about cricket! They are an important balance, but I think we even played basketball together in school!