CBP Ep.5: The Joy(ce)s of cricket

Isobel and Cecelia Joyce are the youngest of nine siblings, most of whom played cricket. While the twins as well as Ed, the current coach of Ireland, Dominic and Augustine played international cricket, Jonny and Damien, their other brothers and their dad played club cricket. However, it was a hush-hush affair at the start as playing non-Irish sport was looked down upon in those days due to the colonial history that the country had.

Isobel made her international cricketer as a 15-year-old in 1999 while Cecelia followed suit a couple of years later. When the former was selected to play in the 2000 Women’s World Cup, she had to miss school for a month. Though she didn’t tell them the reason, she was given a rousing applause during the school assembly as she was given a journal to keep.

Ireland’s women’s cricketers weren’t paid match fees up until 2014-15. Yet it was the love for the game and passion is what kept the siblings going in the sport. Cecelia worked in a corporate law firm while Isobel was a sports teacher.

“I got a lot of support from my corporate law firm,” says Cecelia. “They helped me by giving me extra leave offs, study time, giving extra holidays with no penalties in terms of pay.” She also talked about how she would advise any youngster juggling multiple roles to plan it better.

Isobel said that she had to forego her salary when she had to tour with Ireland and that was the tougher part, because she prioritised cricket over her work, while Cecelia tried doing both.

Ed then asked for some advice on handling players who essay multiple roles in their lives. He was first appointed as Ireland’s interim coach last June after Aaron Hamilton, the then head coach, left. Joyce admitted that he didn’t do enough research as the team headed into the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier, 2019, where they failed to qualify for the T20 World Cup 2020. After the tournament, he was appointed the head coach of the team.

“I probably did 10% research of what I needed to, because I didn’t know where to start,” he says. “I was more intent on getting to know the players and not trying to be something I wasn’t. Now that I have got my teeth into things, I feel more comfortable of who I am as a coach.”

The trio talked in-depth about various things, right from how they started, what went behind them being who they are now, how cricket came to be widely accepted in Ireland, the women’s cricket in the country and more.