Niall O’Brien has announced today that he is calling time on his international and first-class cricket career after 16 years at the top.

The 36-year old Dubliner, made his international debut for Ireland in 2002 when he stepped out at Stormont in Belfast to play a one-day match against Denmark.

In the intervening 16 years, O’Brien appeared 216 times for the national side, leaving the game as Ireland’s most successful wicketkeeper with 241 international dismissals to his name.

Not just a prolific figure behind the stumps, O’Brien finishes his career as fourth highest run-scorer for Ireland with 6,097 runs at an average of 31.59, including eight centuries and 33 half-centuries. His highest score of 176 against the UAE in 2005 was almost eclipsed a few years later when he hit 174 against the same side in 2008.

The son of Irish international Brendan "Ginger" O’Brien, Niall played much of his career in green alongside his younger brother Kevin. When international players were asked to decide on squad numbers for international white-ball cricket, O’Brien chose the number "72" in honour of his match-winning total in the famous Irish win over Pakistan at the Cricket World Cup in 2007.

Announcing his decision, O’Brien said: "It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my retirement from international and professional cricket. I have been blessed to have been lucky enough to have represented my country for 16 years with plenty more ups than downs and for this I look back with nothing but smiles and laughter."

"I would like to thank all my coaches and teammates who along the way have helped me become the player I was. I have had too many coaches to mention them all but a special thanks must go to Adrian "Adi" Birrell who took a chance on me in 2002 and who arranged a trial at Kent from where I started my 14-year county career which was an absolute privilege and an honour."