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Cork Born Soccer Internationals

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Fáilte To Plunkett Carters Collection Of Cork Born Soccer Internationals

1 Barry Paddy (Fordsons) 1928 v Bel; 1929 v Bel (2). 

Fordsons left winger Paddy Barry shared the distinction with team-mate Jack O’Sullivan of being the first Cork born players to play for Ireland after the re-birth of the Association in 1921. They played on the side which beat Belgium 4-2 in Liege. Paddy Barry played in his accustomed position of left half on the Fordsons side beaten by Athlone in the 1924 Cup final. For the 1926 campaign the Fordsons selectors made an inspired change when they switched him to the left wing. That proved to be the move which eventually won the Cup for Fordsons, for Barry not alone scored twice in the final but got the winning goal in practically the last minute of an epic encounter with Shams. Paddy was chosen in his favourite half-back role for the International in Liege. Ireland were two down at the interval but a thunderstorm which delayed the start of the second half and continued for a while after the restart seemed to help the Irish who ran the home team, ragged, eventually winning 4-2. Paddy was outstanding in Belgium and was one of only two players retained for the return leg in Dalymount which Ireland won 4-0 

2 Bennett Alan (Ipswich) v Ecuador 2007

3 Burke Florrie. (Cork Ath) 1951 v W Ger (1)

Florrie first attracted the attention of talent spotters when as a 15 year old in 1936 he helped Rockwell to a shock 2-1 victory over a Jackie Carey inspired Home Farm in the FAI Minor Cup semi-final. Alas, the Bandon Road side were found to have played two over-age players and on protest Home Farm advanced to the final where they defeated Drogheda. Ballintemple born Florrie evaded the GAA ban for a while and was a promising young hurler with the Rockies before concentrating on soccer. Cork Utd signed him from Blackrock Rovers in 1941. He made the number eight jersey his own as he helped Cork Utd to their second League Championship in 1942. Soon afterwards he moved to his favourite pivotal berth and won five more Championship medals - three with Cork Utd 43, 45 and 46 and a pair as captain of Cork Ath in 50 and 51. Athletic also won the Cup in 51, when they beat Shelbourne, giving Florrie his second winners gold having won the first against Bohs in 1947. Florrie had an opportunity to gain a third Cup winners medal when he played for Evergreen Utd against his old Cork Ath comrades in the 1953 final. Florrie, though still a retained player with Cork Ath in 52-53, was loaned to neighbours Evergreen with whom he was only allowed play Cup football. It was like a fairytale but one that didn’t have a happy ending as the Raich Carter inspired Cork Athletic took the laurels after a replay. 

A brilliant centre half, Florrie captained the League of Ireland against the English, Scottish and German Leagues and played for an FAI XI which beat Glasgow Celtic. His magnificent performance against the star studded English is still spoken of today. In that memorable match he held the legendary Nat Lofthouse in a vice-like grip all afternoon. He was one of the many outstanding Cork players deprived of rightful International recognition when games ceased during the war years. However, he was luckier than some and was honoured in 1951 when gaining deserved recognition against West Germany. Florrie, one of just two League of Ireland players on the side, fitted in like a glove and was deservedly acclaimed as the star of the game. Irish football has never lacked personalities, but Florrie stood out whenever and wherever he played. He was honoured by the SWAI who in 1993 bestowed on him the League of Ireland Soccer Legend Award. Florrie died in Wales in 1995

4 Burke Tom (Cork), 1934 v Bel (1) 

Tom Burke, an original Rambler, was one of several local players on the Cork FC senior panel at a time when the team management was maintaining the policy of their predecessors by importing overseas stars. Among the imports was Scottish defender John Kelso who many assumed would be replacing Cobh born part-timer Tom Burke an employee of the Irish Steel Works. Cork experimented and the switch of Burke to centre forward was not a success. Tom was restored to his left full position and Kelso got to wear the number nine jersey. Burke was consistency personified at full back while Kelso got the vital goals in the two games needed to decide the 1934 FAI Cup semi final against Dundalk and the match winner against St James’ Gate in the final. Tom Burke’s consistency wasn’t ignored by the International selectors and was called up for the International against Belgium in which three other Corkmen also made their debuts. Tom maintained his form for several years and after returning to Cobh Ramblers via Waterford FC was one of three Internationals on the Munster Select team which played Motherwell at the Mardyke.

5 Noel Cantwell

Cantwell Noel. (West Ham), 1954 v L; 1956 v Sp, Ho; 1957 v D, WG, E (2); 1958 v D, Pol, A; 1959 v Pol, Cz (2); 1960 v Se, Ch, Se; 1961 v N (with Man Utd), 1961 v S (2); 1962 v Cz (2), A; 1963 v Ic (2) S; 1964 v A, Sp, E; 1965 v Pol, Sp; 1966 v Sp(2), A, Bel; 1967 v Sp, T. (36)

"He was almost like a general on a battlefield; he was a great and versatile player, a wonderful marshal; he was one of the best informed theorists and thinkers in the game; his influence on other players ran right down the line - from the top internationals to the lads on the ground staff; he successfully "fathered" soccer greats such as Denis Law, Harry Gregg, Pat Crerand, Johnny Giles and Bobby Charlton; and talking of versatility he was the personification of the word - one day he would be at full back for United and two days later at centre forward for his country; one day he is going to carve himself a new future as a great manager.” These were just some of the sentiments expressed by the great Sir Matt Busby in his many tributes to his former captain Noel Cantwell. Busby made Noel the costliest full-back in Britain when paying West Ham over £29,000 for his signature in 1960. Three years later Noel captained Manchester Utd when they defeated Leicester City in the FA Cup final. In 1967 he was club captain when Utd became English League champions, a feat they weren't to accomplish again for 27 years. While with the Hammers he captained the side which were promoted as champions to the 1st Division in 1958. That same season Noel became the first Irishman to play in a major European final when captaining the London FA side defeated by Barcelona in The Fairs Cup at the Bernabeu Stadium.

Matt Busby's prophecy came true when, in 1967, Noel became the greatly admired manager of Coventry City. After five seasons with Coventry he had a spell with the New England Teamen before commencing his first term as manager of Peterborough in 1972. Five satisfactory years went by before he jetted across the Atlantic again to renew acquaintances with the New England Teamen. His popularity in Peterborough resulted in another spell as manager between 1986 and '88.

Noel became an outstanding Irish International. He won 36 caps and his goal tally of 14 still has him in the top six leading Irish goalscorers of all time - a remarkable achievement for a full-back who only led the attack on a dozen occasions. His versatility was precious to Ireland, offering the team strength and discipline in defence and an effective if unorthodox cutting edge, when circumstances demanded that he be moved to centre forward. When Jackie Carey resigned as manager of the Irish team Noel and fellow Corkman Charlie Hurley jointly managed the side for a short period. The boy from the Mardyke became the first Cork soccer player to have an autobiography published when "United We Stand" went on sale in 1965.

He never forgot his roots and returned almost annually to play in benefit matches at the Mardyke and in later years at Flower Lodge. His popularity in the English League made him the ideal contact man for countless Cork stars who enlisted his help in enticing many houeshold names to the Leeside for charity and benefit matches. Among the famous stars to accompany Noel to the Dyke and the Lodge were Denis Law, Maurice Setters, Derek Kevan, Johnny Haynes, Bert Trautman and Pat Crerand. Noel's great friendship with Cork Schoolboys’ League founder John Cooke also resulted in many other big name players flying in to assist in their promotions. In fact, while still a Man Utd star, Noel somehow managed to persuade Matt Busby to allow him risk life and limb for a nostalgic appearance on the old sloping bumpy schoolboy pitch at Togher where his selected side played a Jerry Lane eleven. He returned to Cork again in 1971, this time to present a trophy for competition to the Schoolboys League. "Cork gave me the opportunity and it has always been on my mind to come back and do something in return,” said Noel.

6 Carey Brian (Man Utd). 1992 v Us (Sub); 1993 v W; (with Leicester), 1994 v R. (3)

Four months after starring for Cork City in the FAI Cup final against Derry City Togher boy, 6ft 3in Brian Carey, was transferred to Man Utd. Brian’s was a friendly Cork face waiting to greet Denis Irwin when he arrived at Old Trafford the following season. Brian never made the big breakthrough with Utd and although he made the subs bench on numerous occasions he never got into the action. In January 1991 he was loaned to Fourth Division Wrexham and starred for them when they sensationally dumped Arsenal out of the FA Cup. When his contract with Utd expired he was transferred to Leicester and was a member of the Brian Little managed side which gained promotion to the Premiership and like a yo-yo relegated back down again. When Martin O’Neill became manager of Leicester Brian was surplus to requirements again and was immediately snapped up by Wrexham who had fond memories of his previous spell in Wales. Brian who gained an U21 cap against Switzerland in 1992 received his senior call-up for the friendly against USA, coming off the bench in the second half as a substitute for Dave O’Leary. He added his second cap in the 2-1 victory over Wales when partnering O’Leary. His third and final appearance in the green jersey was in the scoreless draw against Russia in 1994.

7 Miah Dennehy

Dennehy Miah (Cork Hibs) 1972 v Ec (sub), Ch; (with Notts F) 1973 v USSR (sub), P, F, N; 1974 v Pol (Sub); 1975 v T (sub), WG, (with Walsall) 1976 v Pol (Sub); 1977 v Pol (sub). (11). 

Miah was immortalised in Cork after his record breaking FAI Cup final hat-trick in 1972. His excellent performances with Hibs were recognised by the International selectors and Miah made the panel which travelled to Brazil for the Brazil Independance Cup Tournament in June 1972. Miah came off the bench to make his debut in the 3-2 victory over Ecuador and was on from the start in the following match which Ireland lost 2-1 to Chile. Dave McKay paid £20,000 to bring him to Notts Forest in 1973 and he added his third cap when coming on as a sub on the team beaten 1-0 in the World Cup by Russia in Moscow. Further honours were added against France, Norway and Poland with the latter two providing Miah with his first international goals. Things went very well for him at the City Ground until Brian Clough’s arrival. Cloughie sold him to Walsall and during happier times at Fellows Park the Irish selectors did not forget him and added two furthers caps to his collection, the last coming as a substitute for Mark Lawrenson against Poland in 1977. Miah was a bit of a rogue and rather than forego the honour of lining out on the All Ireland X1 which played Brazil in 1973 he concealed the fact that he had a broken toe and came off the bench with a spring in his step to defy the pain barrier. The FAI golden jubilee year (1972) also saw him receiving the honour of playing against Moscow Torpedo and Man Utd both as substitute. Miah also gained Amateur and U23 International caps while playing with Cork Hibs. He was a handy GAA player, he lined out regularly with local side St Vincent’s in Cork and while in England won a Provincial GAA Championship medal with Warwickshire.

8 Peter Desmond

Desmond Peter (Middlesbrough). 1950 v Fi, E, Fi, Se. (4). 

1949 was a glorious year for Irish soccer and the press kept reminding us of the fact for almost forty years (until Stuttgart ‘88) reliving what was reportedly this country’s greatest performance - beating England in a friendly at Goodison Park. England was beaten for the first time on home soil by a team from outside the home countries. Playing inside forward on that memorable occasion was Peter Desmond and the lad from Evergreen Street was then only on the Middlesbrough reserve side. Peter began his career with Nicholas Rovers and subsequently had his allegiance claimed by several clubs including Dunbar Celtic, Beaumont Utd, St Kevin’s, Construction Corp, Western Rovers and Fermoy. He was magnificent on the Richmond team of 1946 that defeated Grangegorman 2-1 in the Intermediate Cup final replay at Dalymount Park. He began his League of Ireland career with Waterford and a year later he was on the Shelbourne side beaten 3-0 by Dundalk in the FAI Cup final. Peter who played regularly for the Irish Army signed for Middlesbrough along with Arthur Fitzimons but it wasn’t until after his brilliant performance for Ireland at Goodison that he made his debut for Boro. Peter didn’t stay long up at Ayrsome Park and moved around a bit before retiring from league football in 1953 after spells with Southport, York and Hartlepool Utd. He died in England in 1990.

9 Don Donovan

Donovan Don (Everton) 1955 v N, H, N, WG; 1957 v E. (5) 

It was a lucky day for Everton Manager Cliff Britton that his First Division side were playing an end of season friendly in Cork and that he paid a chance visit to Turner’s Cross to watch a local junior match. Cliff was greatly impressed by Maymount’s blonde defender Don Donovan and the lad was whisked away to Goodison Park. Britton rated Don as one of his best signings ever and his faith in the Cork man was repaid when Don was an inspirational figure on the Everton side which gained promotion back to Division One in 1954. Don made his International debut in the 2-1 victory over Norway in 1954. He played an excellent game in the victory over Holland at the end of that season. Don helped Ireland to three consecutive victories when they defeated Norway in Oslo and gained his fourth and last cap on the side beaten 2-1 by Germany in Hamburg in May 1955. The northsider was always a man for the big occasion and enjoyed great successes when opposing stars such as Tom Finney, Stanley Matthews, Billy Bingham and Jackie Berry. Don’s son Terry who was an English Schools International followed in Dad’s footsteps and won two caps with Ireland against Russia and West Germany B in 1979. Terry was then with Aston Villa having commenced with Grimbsy and later played with Burnley and Rotherham. 

10 Colin Doyle

Doyle (Birmingham) v Ecuador 2007

Colin Anthony Doyle (born August 12, 1985 in Cork, Ireland) is an Irish footballer, who is currently Birmingham City's number 1 goalkeeper.

Having signed a professional contract with Birmingham as an 18 year old, he has had loan spells at Chester City and Nottingham Forest, during neither of which he saw much first-team action.

He played his schoolboy football in Ireland with Douglas Hall in Cork from Under 8 up to Under 15, when he joined Birmingham City. He has progressed through the Birmingham ranks and made his competitive debut against Shrewsbury in the 2006/07 Carling Cup, keeping a clean sheet in the 1-0 win. He followed up this appearance with his League debut against Cardiff City, where the Blues lost 2-0.

In August 2006, he played against Greece away for Ireland Under 21s and kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 victory.

Doyle has been doing very well recently in the Championship, his most recent good performance was against Wolves, in which he made a series of good saves. He also saved a penalty in the last stages of the game from Wolves midfielder Michael McIndoe. The game ended with Birmingham City winning 3-2 and returning to the top of the Championship. [

11 Jim Foley

Foley Jim, (Cork). 1934 v Bel, Ho; (with Celtic) 1935 v H, Swe, G; 1937 v G, H. (7)

Fox, as he was better known, was rated the best Cork goalkeeper of the Century and was introduced to soccer in the late twenties by little known juvenile team Trinity Utd before signing for Blackrock Rovers. Fox, who came from Geraldine Place, Albert Road played with Cork Celtic and Bohs in the MSL and it was after performing heroics for the latter against Cork that he first attracted the attention of the big teams. Cork FC signed him from Cork Celtic in 1931 but months passed before he replaced Fitzroy in the Cork goal. Two years later he transferred to Belfast Celtic and made his debut for them in the Charity Cup final against deadly rivals Linfield. It was a baptism of fire being constantly barracked by a hostile crowd who threatened him and the police had to make a baton charge to restore order. Fox returned to Cork for the commencement of the following season and won the first of his three FAI Cup medals on the Johnny Paton captained team which beat St James’ Gate in the 1934 final. He won his first International Cap when he was one of four Cork men on the Irish team which drew 4-4 with Belgium in a World Cup qualifier in February of that year. He retained his place for the next match against Holland in Amsterdam and as the new season began he was proudly wearing the colours of Glasgow Celtic. In his two and a half seasons with Celtic he won a further seven caps gaining his seventh and last honour against Hungary in December 1936. After consistently brilliant displays of goalkeeping with Celtic the soccer scribe in the Daily Mail wrote “The play of the goalkeeper that day and since could hardly have been improved on. Just how much this form of Foley’s has meant to the Celts cannot be overestimated. It has meant that the main defence and the team as a whole in fact has been enabled to maintain their confident stride.” Fox hit the headlines again after conceding a soft goal against Hearts when the crowd hurled sectarian abuse at him. When retrieving a ball from behind the goal a spectator called him a Fenian Papist Bastard. And not alone did Foley kick the ball at him but had to be pulled back by his team-mates when he tried to jump over the railings. An angry mob raced on to the pitch to attack Fox but a police cordon held them back. Foley was subsequently charged with assaulting the spectator and was fined £2. A Scottish Protestant Minister paid the fine. 

After that episode Fox was transferred to Plymouth in Jan ‘37 and remained with the English club until re-signing for Cork City in Aug 1939. When Cork City were expelled in January a new team Cork Utd were permitted to take their place in the League. Foley won his second cup medal with United in 1941 when a record breaking run of twelve consecutive cup and league wins assured them of Championship honours as well. The following season Belfast Celtic keeper Kevin McAlinden replaced Foley for a few months while he was recovering from illness. In 1944-45 Irish International Billy Harrington replaced Fox who was also understudy to Ned Courtney during the 1945-46 campaign. Jim Fox Foley ended his career in fairytale fashion; in early February 1947 he replaced Ned Courtney and retained the jersey for the remainder of a memorable season. He was magnificent as Cork Utd defeated Bohs 2-0 after a replay in the FAI Cup final. He died on October 14 1952 aged just 40 years. 

12 Dominic Foley

Foley Dominic, (Watford) 2000 v S (sub), M (sub), US, SA. 2001 Es (sub), F (6).

The 1999-2000 season was a memorable one for Charleville born striker Dominic Foley. His involvement in high profile Premiership matches with Watford advanced his International claims. He had previously played for Ireland B against the National League in 1997 and added six U21 caps to his Irish Schools U14 and Youths honours. A stress factor injury sustained in December 1999 and which sidelined him for over two months looked like ruining a good season’s work. However, all disappointments were forgotten when he was asked to join the Ireland squad for the Staunton/Cascarino testimonial against Liverpool. The youngster earned great praise from Irish Manager Mick McCarthy who said afterwards “Dom did very well against Liverpool and took his goal very well when introduced as a substitute during the second half.” This was a reference to Dom’s headed equaliser which lifted the 36,000 crowd at Landsdowne and helped Ireland go on to defeat the English Premiership team. Ten days later he won his first full cap in a friendly versus Scotland and played in the Nike Cup in the USA. Dom scored a superb equaliser after coming on as a sub against Mexico and followed up with another superb strike against the USA. Though he didn’t get on the scoresheet in the concluding tie against South Africa his name was being penciled in by most analysts as one of the Irish success stories. He gained further honours when coming on as a sub against Estonia in a World Cup qualifier and played in the friendly against Finland to bring his cap total to six. 

13 Gamble Joe (Cork City) 2007 v Ecuador

In his early career at Cork City and Reading, Gamble made eight appearances for the Republic of Ireland under-21s, scoring once. The goal came as part of a 3-2 win against Denmark at his 'home' stadium, Turners Cross.

In 2006 Joe was nominated on the eircom League team of the season and was shortlisted for player of the year. His displays for 'City did not go unnoticed by Ireland manager Steve Staunton and in May 2006 he was called up to the Irish International team. He manned the substitutes bench in a match against Chile, but a poor performance saw Staunton unwilling to experiment late in teh game. Gamble later played for the Republic of Ireland B team against Scotland in November 2006 alongside teammate Roy O'Donovan. In doing so he became only the third City player ever to do so.

On Tuesday May 15th 2007 it was announced that Joe Gamble had again been drafted into Steve Staunton's Republic of Ireland squad to travel to America in order to take part in friendly matches against Ecuador and Bolivia. Joe came on as a second half substitute in the game angainst Ecuador.

He made his debut against Ecuador on May 23rd 2007 against Ecaudor in the Giant's Stadium, New Jersey, coming on as a second half substitute.

14 Harrington Billy (Cork) 1936 v Ho, Sw, H, L (4)

When Cork’s International keeper Fox Foley was transferred to Glasgow Celtic in 1934 a worthy successor was quickly found in the person of Billy Harrington. All sportsmen acclaimed him as one of the greatest clubmen. Cobh born Billy began his career with Springfield and later with Cobh before moving to assist Cork Bohs in the League of Ireland. Following their demise he signed for Cork FC and when another keeper was signed he was willing to play second fiddle and even performed with some success on the right wing. The cream will always rise to the top as it did in Billy‘s case. Through the lean years and the good, Billy never swerved in his loyalty to his Cork club. He was first choice keeper in 1936 and his brilliance was recognised by the International selectors who honoured him on four occasions. He replaced Fox Foley for the match against Holland in December 1935 and was retained for the games against Switzerland, Hungary and Luxembourg. With Cork Billy was almost indispensable and in the eight years he remained in the city he played with its three Free State Clubs. When Cork FC went into liquidation in 1938, Harrington was offered terms by Shels but turned them down to sign with the new team Cork City. Two years later Cork City were expelled and Billy threw in his lot with Cork Utd. There was a curious link between Cork’s international goalkeepers Foley and Harrington. The International jersey alternated between the pair and when Fox left for Scotland Billy replaced him. Again in 1940 Fox returned and Billy played second fiddle. Now it was Billy who left and he gave his services to Limerick for a few years. Billy answered the call for help in the close season of 1942 when he returned to play with Cork in the Inter-City Cup series. After spending another season in Limerick he jumped at the opportunity of playing with Cork Utd and in 1944-45 he helped them to their third League Championship title. Cork Utd signed Ned Courtney from Cobh Ramblers the following season and the man who moved to the Holy Ground as his replacement was local hero Billy Harrington who began an extended spell on home soil. Billy helped Ramblers to some great victories in the Munster Senior League but was unable to save them from defeat by St Patrick’s in the 1948 Intermediate Cup final. Billy’s career went on and on and even I had the opportunity of playing against him in the late sixties when he was custodian with the Irish Steel. 

Hayes Billy (Huddersfield), 1947 v E, P (2)

Billy was capped twice by the Republic, firstly against England in September 1946 shortly after he had returned to Huddersfield from Cork Utd, and then versus Portugal at the end of the season. In the English game Billy did a great marking job on Tom Finney but was injured early in the second half and forced to continue as a virtual passenger on the right wing. Ironically, Finney snatched a late winner for England. Against Portugal Billy squandered a great opportunity to equalise for Ireland when he shot wide from a penalty kick and the visitors went on to win 2-0. Billy also had the honour of being capped four times by Northern Ireland, against England twice and Scotland twice in 1938 and 39. He became Huddersfield’s longest serving player in a career which straddled the war. During the five years he played with Cork Utd (1941 to 1946) he displayed the skill and polish of experience which was to raise the standard of football in Ireland to a very high peak seldom, if ever, before reached. In those exciting years he was justifiably acclaimed as the greatest full-back of his time. He helped Cork Utd to win four League titles, Dublin City Cup and Shield medals but had to be content with runners-up FAI Cup medals in consecutive seasons. He was on the teams beaten by Drums and Dundalk in 1942 and 43 and, ironically, had he stayed with Cork a few months longer he would have gained that elusive medal as they beat Waterford in the 1947 decider.

14 Colin Healy

Healy Colin (born 1980) joined Celtic from Ballincollig in July 1998 and later that season made a fairytale debut as a sub in the Old Firm derby against Rangers. In that first season he made his full debut against Dunfermline. His progress continued during the following season in which he sampled League, Scottish League Cup, Scottish FA Cup and European football. He won a Championship medal in 2001 and was in action on 19 occasions including EUFA and Champions League games. Colin, who operates in midfield is a skilful combative player with a great future and has been capped at U18 and U21 level. He is unlikely to make sufficient appearances to qualify for a League winners medal this season although he has been in action in the League, League Cup and Scottish Cup recently.

Born in Ballincollig in County Cork, he played local football with Wilton United. He attended the FAS/FAI football course in Cork ran by former Glasgow Celtic and Cork City midfielder Mick Conroy and from here he was taken to Celtic Park where he impressed.

During the Saipan incident between Mick McCarthy and fellow Cork man Roy Keane, Colin Healy was called upon by McCarthy as the replacement should Keane be dropped from the squad. A succession of changes-of-heart by the Manchester United player led to the call-up being delayed and the deadline passing, with Healy unable to join the World Cup squad.

Sunderland succeeded in signing Healy from Glasgow in 2003, albeit with a considerable controversy. As Healy was 23 years old at the time, Sunderland were stunned when Celtic attempted to enforce Board rules which claimed that they needed to pay compensation for his move between clubs. According to FIFA rules, however, no compensation needed to be paid, as they needn't pay compensation on any players 23 or over. FIFA rules were the ones followed in this case.

Injury Nightmare

The following year, which had promised so much as a year for Healy to potentially mature to a regular Irish international, instead became the onset of an injury crisis. Just days after the settlement of the dispute with Celtic, he broke his leg in a match against a former loan club, Coventry City. A brutal (but accidental) challenge by Moroccan international Youssef Safri in December 2003 began an unfortunate number of years for the player, spending more time in the stands than on the field. In October 2004, his bad luck continued when he broke his leg again soon after resuming training with Sunderland. It was reported that a training match challenge by his manager at Sunderland Mick McCarthy (of the Saipan incident and now former Irish international manager) led to another severe fracture. McCarthy refused to take responsibility, blaming instead the doctors who had performed surgery on the player's leg the previous season. [1]

The Road to Recovery

In January 2006, it was announced that Healy's contract with Sunderland had expired, and the midfielder was to leave the club and return to Ireland to re-evaluate his future. He joined struggling SPL club Livingston on 10 March 2006 until the end of the season.

On 10 August 2006 Healy signed a one year contract with Barnsley.

On his return to the Stadium of Light he came on as a substitute to a standing ovation.

Having made only 10 appearances for Barnsley, he had his contract canceled by mutual consent.

[edit] Cork City F.C. and F.I.F.A. case

On February 20 2007, following protracted negotiations, he signed a two-year contract with hometown eircom League of Ireland club Cork City, alongside former international colleague Gareth Farrelly. With the season beginning with the Setanta Sports All-Ireland Cup, Healy found himself and Farrelly embroiled in a dispute with world football governing body FIFA. FIFA cited a rule forbidding players from transferring between clubs more than once in a 12 month period between July and June, thus making both new signings ineligible for four months. However, Cork City called upon the precedent set by FIFA allowing Argentine international Javier Mascherano to join Liverpool from West Ham, his third team in the 12 month period. FIFA ruled that as the other team involved, Corinthians of Sao Paolo, participates in Brazil's January to December season period, they were outside the scope of the July-June restriction. The eircom League of Ireland also follows this time period and as such it is argued the same allowance should apply. The appeal also mentions the possible legal ramifications of FIFA preventing a European Union national from earning a living in his home country.

It later emerged that similar restrictions could apply to upwards of 30 footballers in the eircom League if FIFA do not allow Healy to play. A similar situation took place in Finland, where the football association voted to ignore FIFA's decision and allow the players to participate.

FIFA have now rejected the appeals of both players. The exact details of the ruling are unknown, at this time.

The two players involved in this situation have become known as The F.I.F.A. 2

15 John Herrick

Herrick John (Cork Hibs). 1972 v A, Ch (sub); (with Shams) 1973 v F (sub) (3).

John comes from a family steeped in soccer tradition and particularly immersed in the history of the Glasheen club. Glasheen’s record in grooming stars for League of Ireland football is second to none and John has the distinction of being their first Schoolboy graduate to achieve full international recognition in soccer. He was one of several 16 year olds on the Glasheen team unluckily defeat 2-1 by Southend (Dublin) in the 1964 FAI Minor Cup final. However, there was some consolation for Glasheen as they dominated Cork soccer bringing off the League and Shield double. John tasted the bitter pang of defeat in another National final this time when being on the Glasheen team who lost to TEK in the FAI Intermediate Cup final in 1965.

John Herrick in October 1971 became the first Cork Hibernians player to be capped at senior level when selected for the game against Chile. He then went on to tour Brazil where he gained his cap as a substitute in the Brazilian Independance Cup Tournament against Chile. Herrick wore the Irish jersey for the last time and played very well when coming on early in the game against France for the injured Tommy Carroll. Ireland were full value for the 1-1 draw against the highly rated French in Paris. John will also remember with pride his performance for an All Ireland League X1against English League Runners-up Leeds in a League of Ireland Golden Jubilee Celebration match at Dalymount. It was probably his classy display against Peter Lorimer which shortlisted him for the International panel. Herrick was only 17 when he signed for Cork Hibs in 1965 from Glasheen. John’s game improved enormously in 1970 when he became a full time professional and trained with Hibs cross channel imports. With Hibs the polished defender won almost every trophy available in League of Ireland soccer including League Championship, FAI Cup and Blaxnit All –Ireland medals. He was transferred to Shams in 1973 for £3,000 and twelve months later Hibs paid a little extra to bring him back to Flower Lodge. He became a major signing for Limerick in 1976-77 and the fee paid an immediate gilt-edge dividend as John helped the Shannonsiders to the FAI Cup final. Herrick was appointed player-manager and guided Limerick to a very respectable sixth position just nine points adrift of champions Dundalk. He spent a season (1978-79) with Drogheda before ending his League career as player-manager in the colours of Galway Utd and the City of the Tribes must have made a huge impact on the Corkman who settled there and eventually managed Galway in the League of Ireland. John’s son Mark followed him into the League of Ireland and the popular midfielder is back helping Galway Utd after spending several seasons in the city of his birth with Cork City.

16 Charlie Hurley

Hurley Charlie (Millwall), 1957 v E; (with Sunderland), 1958 v D, Pol, A; 1959 v Cz (2); 1960 v Se, Ch, WG, Se; 1961 v W, N, S (2); 1962 v Cz (2), A; 1963 v Ic (2), S; 1964 v A (2), Sp (2), Pol, N; 1965 v Sp; 1966 v WG, A, Bel; 1967 v T, Sp, T, Cz; 1968 v Cz, Pol; 1969 v Pol, D, Cz; (with Bolton) H. (40) 

When Charlie was in his prime in the early sixties he was recognised as the best centre half in Britain. He was a huge dominating centre half who loved to go forward at every opportunity and when he did so he terrorised opposing defences. While with Millwall Big Charlie was centre half on the London Select side which competed in the European Fairs Cup. In 1957 he made his debut for Ireland against England in a vital World Cup tie before a record breaking attendance at Dalymount Park. England needed just one point to advance while wins against England and Denmark would give Ireland a play-off against the “auld enemy”. England got the fright of their lives and only managed to scrape through thanks to a last second equaliser. Hurley was magnificent and completely blotted out the great Tommy Taylor. At a recent function in Cork where he received the Cork Soccer Legend Award he recalled that memorable occasion. When the news of his selection reached the Hurley household his father’s response was typically Cork “this is it boy”, he roared. “But I’m marking Tommy Taylor dad”, replied a tentative Charlie. “Don’t leave him breathe boy, stick to him like glue, even if he goes to the loo follow him” added the dad. “I took dad’s advice,” Charlie told the adoring Cork attendance at the awards function. “ I went everywhere with Taylor. Every turn he made I was there in front of him. When he stooped to tie his lace I stood over him. When he was being treated after a tackle I smiled mischievously at him. I didn’t get to follow him to the loo but when the final whistle blew I noticed that he made a mad dash in that direction”, added Charlie. 

In an International career spanning 12 years he went on to gain another 39 caps. It was normal in those days for players to play in the English League on the day prior to Internationals. This meant that Charlie, after helping Sunderland in an afternoon match, regularly had to get a taxi from Roker Park to a railway station to catch a train to Fishguard or Holyhead and from there across the Irish Sea arriving, all going to schedule, about 7.30am on the morning of the International. I wonder what would Roy have to say about that style of preparation. When Charlie was capped for the first time it was as a Millwall player and when he played his final International against Hungary in the World Cup in 1969 he was with Bolton. All other caps were gained while with Sunderland giving him the honour of being the most capped player in the club’s history. Charlie who captained Ireland on 21 occasions scored twice in the green jersey and was Irish Coach during the last three matches of his International career. Charlie became the first recipient of the Irish International Hall of Fame Award when honoured at the FAI Banquet in 1989.

17 Stephen Ireland

Stephen Ireland (born August 22, 1986 in Cobh,) is an Irish footballer playing in England for Manchester City.

Stephen Ireland started his football career in Cobh, playing junior football for Cobh Ramblers, a team his father Michael had previously played for.[1] As a schoolboy Ireland had trials with a number of British clubs, though several were discouraged by his Osgood-Schlatter disease, which he suffered from in his mid-teens. At the age of 15 he joined the youth setup at Manchester City. Ireland played for Manchester City's first team in a number of friendlies in the 2005 preseason, and made his competitive debut on the 18th September 2005 against Bolton Wanderers, coming on as an 81st minute substitute.[2] He subsequently made his first competitive start against Doncaster Rovers on 21 September 2005. He won man of the match on his first Premiership start against Everton on the 2 October 2005.[3][4] He then started the next six matches for City, which won him a contract to keep him at the club until 2009.[5] In the remainder of the season he participated in around half of Manchester City's matches, ending the season with a total of 16 starts and 12 substitute appearances.[6] On the 26th of December, Ireland scored his first Premiership goal for Manchester City, a left footed volley from 20 yards. The goal proved to be the only goal in a vital 1-0 victory at Sheffield United' s Bramall Lane. Ireland's second goal for City came against Sheffield Wednesday in the third round of FA Cup. His goal, scored just moments before the interval, was created by man of the match Joey Barton in front of 25,000 spectators at the City of Manchester Stadium. City went on to win 2-1.

On the 18th of February, Ireland rounded off the scoring for Manchester City in a 3-1 away win over Preston North End in the 5th round of the FA Cup with a stunning volley from outside the area.

On April 12th rumours emerged in the press that his fellow countryman Roy Keane was set to offer a £5m deal to Manchester City in the summer to bring him to Sunderland AFC.

International career

Ireland represented his country at under-15, under-16 and under-17 level,[1], but when called up to under-18 level he had a dispute with coach Brian Kerr after he was left out of the side and told to watch the match from the stands. The team lost the match 4-0, and Kerr suggested Ireland would be involved in the next match. When Ireland was again left out, he requested to return to his club, and Kerr informed him that he would never play for the Republic of Ireland while Kerr was manager.[7] Shortly afterward, Kerr bacame manager of the senior Republic of Ireland team, leading Ireland to briefly consider choosing to represent either England or Italy, for whom he was also eligible.[8]

In January 2006 Kerr was replace as Republic of Ireland manager by Steve Staunton. In Staunton's first squad, for a match against Sweden, Ireland received a senior call up for the first time. Ireland came on a substitute in the match, replacing John O'Shea.[9] He scored his first international goal on October 7th, 2006 in a 5-2 loss to Cyprus.

On the 7th of February 2007 Stephen Ireland saved the Republic of Ireland from a humiliating draw with San Marino with a last minute injury time goal. Final score was 2-1.On 24th March, 2007, he scored the first ever soccer goal in Croke Park against Wales.[10] This was his third international goal in just four matches.


Player profile - Stephen Ireland. Cobh Ramblers. Retrieved on 2007-04-04. 

"Mills' wonder goal inspires City as Moyes remains rock bottom", Independent, 2005-10-03. Retrieved on 2007-04-04.  

 "Ireland impresses as City add to Everton woes", Irish Independent, 2005-10-03. Retrieved on 2007-04-04.  

 "Ireland signs new contract with City", RTE, 2005-10-26. Retrieved on 2007-04-04.  

 James, Gary (2006). Manchester City - The Complete Record. Derby: Breedon. ISBN 1-85983-512-0.  p479 

 "Ireland sets his sights on international return", RTE, 2005-12-20. Retrieved on 2007-04-04.  

 ""I would love to play for Ireland, absolutely love it"", Manchester City v Birmingham City match programme, 2005-12-17. , p11 

 "Rep of Ireland 3-0 Sweden", BBC, 2006-03-01. Retrieved on 2007-04-04.  

 "Ireland's the victor in every sense", Sunday Telegraph, 2007-03-25. Retrieved on 2007-04-04. 

18 Denis Irwin

Irwin Denis (Man Utd). 1991 v M, T, W, E, Pol, US; 92 v H, Pol, W, US, Alb, US (sub), I; 1993 v La, D, Sp, Ni, D, Alb, La, Li; 1994 v Li, Sp, Li, Bol, G, I, M; 1995 v La, Lie, Ni, E, Ni, P, Lie, A; 1996 v A, P, H, CzR; 1997 v Lie, Mac, Ic, Mac, R; 1998 v Li, Bel, Arg (sub); 1999 v Cro, Y, Para, Mac; 2000 v Y, Mac, T(2). (56) 

Denis who was born in Tivoli and reared in Togher lived just a kick of a ball away from the headquarters of St Finbarr’s, one of the most famous GAA clubs in Ireland. Naturally, he played hurling and football with the Barrs and represented them on Cork U15 inter county teams. He made a name for himself as a promising all-round athlete, excelling at several disciplines and represented Cork in the Community Games in Mosney in athletics, the long puck (hurling) and chess. In those days he accumulated a nice little haul of winning medals including a Colleges All Ireland won with Chriost Rí at Croke Park. He was an exceptional all-round sportsman and was reminiscent of his granduncle Tom Irwin who, in the beginning of the twentieth century, was a historic sports figure, winning All Irelands with Cork in Hurling and Football, refereed All Ireland finals, was a champion sprinter, and long jumper, he played rugby, was a big hitting cricketer and was the country’s finest exponent in the long-puck. There was no mention of soccer in his CV although I would not be surprised if the Tom Irwin who played centre half for Cork City in the old Munster League in 1905 was the same Tom. Grandnephew Denis ensured that it would be as one of the greatest soccer players of all time that the Irwin name would be best remembered. 

Denis first kicked a soccer ball as an under eight with Maglin Grove in the Togher Street Leagues and from there he graduated to local team Everton. Even in his early days he had many admirers and was rated an exceptional player. With Everton he was a renowned free kick specialist a skill that was later to win him world wide fame with Man Utd and Ireland. He was capped by the Irish Schoolboys and it was while playing against Wales in Merthyr Tydfil that he impressed Leeds United’s scout who immediately arranged for a trial at Elland Road. That was in December 1981 and things progressed rapidly afterwards; he signed apprentice forms with Leeds less than two months later. Denis continued his International career with the sixteens and youths and made his debut for Leeds as a centre back in the FA Cup against Scunthorpe. Eddie Gray switched Denis to right-full and it was in the number two jersey that he fulfilled the remaining years of his Leeds contract. After his transfer to Oldham in 1986 his game developed enormously and his outstanding displays against Man Utd in the 1990 FA Cup semi-finals resulted in his £700,000 transfer to Manchester. (see Exports for Irwin’s Football League career ) 

Young Irwin always wanted to be part of the Irish International set-up and now that he was a Man Utd player his credentials wouldn’t be ignored for much longer. While awaiting his senior call-up Denis was honoured by the selectors and played for his country at U21, U23 and B International levels. Ireland’s first game after their World Cup exploits was against Morocco at Dalymount Park. Denis was the only newcomer selected and though it was not the most inspiring of debuts he was delighted to establish a foothold in Charlton’s squad. The coaching with the Internationals differed from what he was used to. At United he was a polished full-back and Manager Alex Ferguson had this to say about him “He has two great feet, he is very quick, he’s a great defender, a quality attacking full-back and the best defender in the club over the past 10 years.” With Ireland much of his attacking skills wouldn’t be needed, as Jack Charlton’s philosophy required Denis to play the ball over the top behind the opposition full backs so that the notoriously successful Irish pressure game could be applied. Denis’s defensive game improved under Jack and he enjoyed seven great years with the Genial Geordie. With Ireland Denis was, as the label suggests, consistent and dependable. He never left his country down which was why he was so disappointed when Jack Charlton’s successor Mick McCarthy omitted him from the team. 

Denis got back into the team but was annoyed at Mick ‘s remarks that he should “go out and prove yourself” as he was being introduced as a substitute against Argentina in 1998. McCarthy denied having made that remark and insisted what he said was “go out and prove me wrong.” Afterwards, Denis went on to play some of his best football for Ireland in the International jersey and it was with widespread regret that his premature retirement from International football was accepted following his last appearance against Tunisia in 2000. The highlight of his International career was the 1-0 victory over Italy during US 94 and the tournament also provided him with a major disappointment when he was benched for the crunch tie versus Holland. Denis retired from International soccer so that he could devote more time to his family. He had a tremendous innings with Ireland and his collection of caps at seven different levels U15, U16, Youths, U21, U23, B, and Senior was unique.

19 Keane Roy

Keane Roy (Notts For). 1991 v Ch; 1992 v H, Pol, W, Sw, Alb, US; 1993 v La, D, Sp, W, Ni, D, Alb, La, Li; (with Man U), 1994 v Li, Sp, Ni, Bol, G , CzR (sub), I, M, N, Ho; 1995 v Ni (2); 1996 v A, Ru; 1997 Ic, W, Mac, R, Lie; 1998 v Li, Ic, Li; 1999 v Cro, Ma, Y, Para; 2000 v Y, T(2), CzR; 2001 v Ho, P, Es, Cy; 2002 v An, P, Cro, Ho, Cy; Ir.(56) 

Roy Keane is no ordinary player and he is what thousands of young soccer players aspire to becoming. He is an iconic sporting figure who commands more media attention than the Irish Government. Yet when his class of 88 graduated from the Rockmount Soccer Academy he was one of the lads left at home to mind the house as his team-mates jetted off to commence careers in England. His personal letters to English clubs in search of trials brought negative results and the fact that the Irish U15 International selectors had ignored him didn’t help either. But the cream always rises to the top and when at last an Irish jersey was secured, at under sixteen level, his CV commanded more attention. He signed for Cobh Ramblers in preference to Cork City and his acceptance on the inaugural FAI/FÁS Soccer Apprenticeship Course in Dublin helped enormously in his development. Roy’s excellent displays with Cobh led to International honours at youth level. Reacting to information from George Scannell, a reliable Cork source, Notts Forest scout Noel McCabe put him under the microscope, and Roy was speedily dispatched to Nottingham. Keane did very well with Forest’s youths and manager Brian Clough after watching the Corkman for just twenty minutes in reserve team action immediately promoted him to the first team. (English League career profile covered in Exports). 

Roy was honoured by the U21 selectors for the European Qualifier against Turkey and was back in Cork in Nov ember 1990 for the crowd-pulling clash with England. He gained further caps in the return versus England and Poland. The downside to his rapid rise to fame was his withdrawal by Forest manager Brian Clough from the Irish team which competed in the World Youth Championships in Portugal. However, the bigger stage beckoned and Roy made his senior debut in a friendly against Chile in May 1991. His grooming in International continued on a side which included household names Paul McGrath, Andy Townsend, Kevin Moran, Ray Houghton, John Aldridge, David O’Leary, Steve Staunton and Packie Bonner. As a consequence Roy’s absence from a few early Internationals hardly raised eyebrows but that all changed after his magnificent display against Spain in Seville. His performance forced Jack Charlton to reappraise his options in midfield. It was a measure of the impact of Keane’s arrival on the scene that the manager was prepared to jettison old priorities to accommodate him. Roy went on to become one of Ireland’s greatest ever players but also the most controversial.

His rash challenge on Alf Inge Haaland in1997 resulted in Roy picking up a cruciate knee injury which sidelined him for almost a season. Roy was sent off for Ireland against Russia whilst captaining the side for the first time. He was banned by manager Mick McCarthy after going AWOL. His relationship with Ireland’s supporters deteriorated and in the early stages of a World Cup qualifier against Iceland he was booed by a section of the crowd. Roy ignored the taunts to deliver a “Man of the Match” performance and by the end of the game the chant “Keano” “Keano” rang out throughout the stadium. His verbal onslaught on Man Utd’s prawn cocktail eating supporters received huge press coverage and his criticism of the FAI, training facilities and travel arrangements also made the headlines. His rantings about leg room on planes taking the International team to away fixtures resulted in immediate reappraisal with the players now enjoying more luxurious seats.

Because of his competitive instincts he has always been high risk in the context of injury and, as a result, has missed many vital matches through injury including play-offs in Anfield, Brussels and Tehran. Unfortunately, on a few rare occasions, the reasons for his absences appeared less convincing, when in some instances he recovered to help Man Utd just days after his Irish withdrawal - criticism usually being confined to the anti Man Utd element

Keane has a streak of tempered steel in his make-up, throughout the nineties he was nothing less than inspirational with Man Utd and his career reached its zenith in 1999, when he almost single handedly lifted them into the European Champions Cup final. He is now, unquestionably, one of the best midfielders in the Premiership and growing steadily towards a similar acceptance on the world stage although Man Utd supporters claim he is already the best midfielder in the world. There are a few better and more skilful players than Roy but none more committed or as inspiring and his loss to United and Ireland would be almost incalculable. Most analysts refer to him as the focal point of the team, others the heartbeat and a few say he is the team. Roy is a tremendous self-analyst and he threw a damper on the celebrations after Ireland drew 2-2 with Holland in Amsterdam when remarking that he didn’t know why everyone was overjoyed. “Those two dropped points could cost us yet,” he said, “we were leading 2-0 with 15 minutes left and we drew 2-2, that’s not right.” Roy was correct; the points dropped prevented Ireland from winning the group outright but fortunately, however, qualification was assured when Iran was defeated in the play-off. Roy who was Ireland’s player of the tournament in World Cup USA 94 will fulfill another lifetime ambition by leading his country in the forthcoming finals in the Far East this summer. 

20 Miah Lynch

Lynch Jeremiah (Miah) (Cork) 1934 v Bel; (1) 

Miah, who was also a gifted hurler, was one of four Cork k players which played for Ireland against Belgium in 1934. This was the only occasion on which Cork had such a representation on the International side. Capped along with Miah were Tom Burke from Cobh, Jim "Fox" Foley and Timothy Jim O'Keeffe, the three of whom starred for Cork FC in their 2-1 FAI Cup final victory over St James’ Gate that same year. Amazingly, Miah, Fox and Timothy Jim all played hurling and football with Geraldines, ensuring that the little "Jewtown" GAA club had its name enshrined in folklore. The trio were members of the team that won the Ballinure Hurling Tournament and the Oliver Plunkett Juvenile League in 1922. Though still only a juvenile Miah is photographed with the Geraldines junior team which beat Cobh in the County Hurling Championship final in 1923. Miah played on the minor team that defeated Ballinora in the Minor County (Under 17 then) Hurling final in 1925 and two years later the teenager demonstrated exciting football skills in helping them to victory over Kilbritain in the County Junior Football final. 

Miah along with Fox Foley first played soccer with Crusaders in the Munster Minor League, and then moved to Rangers who also competed in that league before signing with Cork Bohs with whom he won an FAI Intermediate Cup medal in 1928. When Cork Bohs withdrew in 1934 he signed for Shamrock Rovers but returned home again to assist Cork FC at the commencement of the new season. He was suspended by Cork when refusing to sacrifice a day's wages as a mechanic to travel for a match in Dundalk. He teamed up with most of his former Bohs team-mates when signing for GSR (Great Southern Railways) in the Munster League and was delighted to return to Bohs when they were reformed in 1936. He refused several offers from League of Ireland sides preferring instead to continue with Bohs until 1940 when a leg fracture sustained during a league game in Turner's Cross ended his soccer career. 

He emigrated to England in 1942 and, on his return a few years later, made a comeback not for Bohs but with the Barrs and in 1946 at an age when most sportsmen are living on their memories he won his first Cork Co Senior Hurling medal when inspiring the Blues to a thrilling Cork County Championship victory over great rivals Glen Rovers. He was magnificent again a year later helping Barrs retain the title when defeating Sarsfields in an exciting final. Twenty-six years after winning a Junior Football County with Geraldines he won another when Barrs surprised Delaneys in the 1951 final, which wasn't played until the following year. It was the opinion of many experts that Miah's preference for soccer robbed the GAA of a player who could have contributed enormously to the county’s fortunes. Miah Lynch died in August 1987.

21 Mick McCarthy

McCarthy Mick ( Shamrock Rovers). 1932 v Hol; (1)

Mick was the Corkman who got away. He learned his football with Blackrock Rovers, which also produced Internationals Jim Fox Foley, Timothy Jim O’Keeffe and Florrie Burke. For a few seasons he was the goalkeeping understudy at Fordsons to Billy O’Hagan and made the breakthrough at the start of the 1929-30 season. When Fordsons went out of football he failed to agree terms with the new Cork FC and instead signed for neighbours Cork Bohs. He never actually played with Bohs and after starring with the Irish Juniors against Scotland in Falkirk in October ‘31 a chase began for his signature. That Saturday in Falkirk was the turning point of Mick McCarthy’s young life for after it he left his native city forever. Birmingham City, Falkirk, Shams and Dolphin all joined in the hunt for his signature. After agreeing terms of £4 a week plus bonuses he signed for Shams. With them he won three FAI Cup and three League Championship medals. Mick was fearless, he was a very good keeper and a great favourite with the crowds. Mick always wore a cap and as he revealed himself it was simply superstition feeling that he was not fully equipped without one. He gained his one International cap in Amsterdam when Ireland, against all the odds, defeated Holland 2-0. After three seasons with Rovers he signed for Sheff Utd. The English First Division club signed him after an impressive display in a 2-2 Duggan Cup draw between the Hoops and United in Sheffield. His agility and bravery endeared him to the fans at Bramall Lane but after two great seasons a serious injury forced him to quit the game. Mick made a comeback with Dublin side Brideville before returning again to Shams in 1936-37. He brought the curtain down on a glorious career when adding his third League (1939) and FAI Cup medals (1940) to his collection. 

22 McGowan John (Cork Utd). 1947 v Sp. (1)

Many outstanding players starred with Cork Utd during the clubs all conquering short-lived existence in the glorious forties. Johnny McGowan, born in Passage West in June 1920 and reared in Cobh, was one of the greatest. He first played with Cobh Utd and made his debut with Cork B as a mere 16 year old and after just three matches commenced a glittering League of Ireland career spanning twelve years during which he assisted Cork FC, Cork City and Cork Utd. Ill-fated Cork City had just one trophy victory to its name - the Munster Senior Cup and Johnny was a member of that winning side. With them he had the distinction of blotting the legendary Dixie Dean out of the game when the record scoring English International played against him for Sligo in the FAI Cup at the Mardyke. He benefited enormously from the professional set-up at Cork Utd and with them won five League championship medals and two cup winners medals, playing at right back, right half and centre half. Johnny became an almost automatic choice on the Inter League team and he fulfilled a lifetime ambition when gaining international recognition in March 1947. He wore the number two jersey as Ireland defeated Spain 3-2 before 42000 enraptured spectators at a throbbing Dalymount Park. When the war ended he transferred to West Ham along with Tommy Moroney. He had the misfortune to miss his planned English League debut through severe blistering of his feet and worse was to follow as a succession of more serious injuries jeopardised his career. A knee injury resulted in two cartilages being removed forcing him to eventually retire completely from the game. Johnny returned home in 1952 to look after his family sweet business but was persuaded to manage and coach Cork Hibernians in 1960 until handing over the reigns to his great friend Tommy Moroney two years later.

23 Madden Owen (Cork). 1936 v Ho. (1)

Southern Rovers youngster Owen Madden signed for Cork FC in Aug 1933 and impressed on his debut as centre forward against Dolphin. Madden faced a daunting task in commanding a regular place as Cork had three other centre forwards on their books, Harry Buckle, Andy Haddow of Clyde and John Kelso (Morton). Owen gained valuable experience playing alongside these noted stars and though he scored five times that season he did not gain a place on the side which defeated St James’ Gate in the FAI Cup final. Later on in 1935 another legendary centre forward Jimmy Turnbull arrived in Cork but by then Madden had settled into a position which was to be his best, inside-left. Owen played brilliantly on the team beaten by Shams in the 1936 FAI Cup final and was rewarded when called up for his first International against Hungary. Later that summer Owen along with fellow Corkman Jackie O’Reilly was suspended by the FAI because they signed for Norwich City without the permission of the governing body. Both players accepted signing-on fees from Norwich much to the annoyance of Cork FC who received no fee. Cork reported the players to the FAI who promptly suspended them both. Madden’s International career was over although he was chosen by the North of Ireland for a home championship match against England in 1938.

In March 1938 Owen transferred to Birmingham City. Prior to the commencement of the 38-39 campaign he applied to the FAI for reinstatement but it was refused so he remained on with Birmingham. Despite excellent displays with Norwich and Birmingham Madden was not considered for International honours. However, in 1939 the FAI re-instated “Owenie” and he was chosen for the game against Hungary which was fixed for the Mardyke. Unfortunately, he picked up an injury while playing with Birmingham and was forced to withdraw from the side. That was the officially supplied version, though many claim that Owen declined the invitation as he was sour with the FAI over the suspension. Owen returned to Cork at the start of the 1939-40 season and signed with the ill-fated Cork City club and with Cork Utd after the former were removed from football by the FAI. With Cork Utd Owen was inspirational and in eight glorious years he helped them to five League Championships and two FAI cup victories. One ignominious entry on his excellent CV was his sending off in the 1941 FAI final versus Waterford along with his friend Jackie O’Driscoll (Waterford) following a little altercation.

24 Liam Miller

Miller Liam joined Celtic from Ballincollig in October 1997. He had an outstanding tournament as Ireland created a sensation in being crowned European U16 Champions in May 1998 defeating hot favourites Italy in a televised final in Perth. Liam, who also holds U15, U16, Youth and U21 caps, came off the bench to make his league debut against Dundee Utd at the end of the 1999-2000 season and is rated very highly at Celtic Park. Currently Liam is gaining valuable European first team experience as Celtic have loaned him to Danish Div 1 side FC Aarhus. Liam is a regular on the team which has Mark Reaper as its assistant manager and included in the squad are Irish underage International Mick Doyle (Celtic) and Scott Sellars. At the time of writing it is the close season in Denmark and he is about to fly out with Aarhus to a training camp in Spain, delighted with the news that Irish Manager Don Givens has called him to training for forthcoming U21 Internationals.

25 Tommy Moroney

Tommy was not just a great dual player but a tremendous all-round athlete who won County and Provincial Championships in sprints and high jump. However, it looked as if it was going to be as a top class rugby player that he would make his name. He displayed his talents at an early age when starring in Schools Rugby with PBC and while with them was chosen for the Munster Schools Inter Provincial team. After leaving school he played briefly with Highfield before commencing a promising career with Cork Con. Honours came quickly and the dynamic youngster played for Munster and the Rest of Ireland against the Universities. Unfortunately, International rugby was suspended during the war years depriving him of a certain International Cap. Despite the strong appeal of rugby Tommy chose soccer as a career and for a number of years successfully mixed both; playing rugby on Saturday and soccer on Sunday. It brought its problems as playing with the country’s top teams Cork Con and Cork Utd surely was a recipe for disaster. He was idolised by followers of both codes who recall his hectic weekend schedules. One Saturday in 1946 he was brilliant against Leinster in Landsdowne and equally so a day later against Shams in the FAI Cup at the Dyke. A week later it became chaotic - an FAI Cup semi final replay was fixed for Dublin on a Friday night followed twenty hours later by a Munster Senior Rugby Cup final against deadly rivals Garryowen at the Mardyke and an appearance for the Irish Army against the FAI back in Dublin on Sunday. Cork Utd went down with colours flying against Shams in the FAI Cup and the dash back to Cork was rewarding as he scored a sensational late try to win Cork Con the Munster Cup. Not surprisingly Tommy cried off the Irish Army team so he was able to rest his weary feet and celebrate with his Cork Con mates at a mighty bash in Cork. 

It was 1943 when Tommy decided to have a go at soccer and after serving a speedy apprenticeship with Cork Utd B he was promoted to the first team. With United he won League Championship medals in 44-45 and 45-46 as well as an FAI Cup medal in 1947. His fame spread across the Irish Sea and several top English clubs were disappointed when in 1947 he chose to sign for West Ham. He marked his international debut with Ireland’s goal in a 2-1 defeat by Spain before 65000 spectators in Barcelona in May 1948. The highlight of his International career was undoubtedly the starring role played in the defeat of England at Goodison in 1949. Tommy went on to serve his country with distinction and won the last of his twelve caps while with Evergreen Utd against France in 1953. 

26 Jackie O’Driscoll

O‘Driscoll John (Jackie) (Swansea). 1949 v Sw, Bel, Se; (3)

In the forties a whole crop of young stars throughout the country seemed to grow up together. War broke out in 1939 and the cross channel leagues were disbanded. Consequently the young stars had to remain in Ireland even though the English clubs were clamouring for their services. When peace was restored young and not so young soccer stars fulfilled dreams by signing for cross-channel clubs. One of the aspiring stars was Cork Utd winger Jackie O’Driscoll who won all that was available in Irish football and had been honoured by the Inter League selectors against the English League in April ‘47. One month later Jackie was transferred to Swansea for a four-figure fee. He won his first cap on the team beaten by Switzerland in 1948 and was honoured twice more in matches versus Belgium and Sweden. Jackie was yet another of the elite band of players to be honoured by Associations North and South of the Border when he was capped by the North in the Home Championship Tournament in 1948-49 when he played against England, Scotland and Wales.

27 O’Farrell Frank (West Ham)

O’Farrell Frank (West Ham). 1952 v A; 1953 v A; 1954 v F; 1955 v Ho, N; 1956 v Y, Ho; (with Preston), 1958 v D; 1959 v Cz. (9).

Frank O’Farrell started work on the Railway at 16, the first steps towards his ambition as a railway driver. He had captained the Christ The King gaelic football team to school victories at the same time as he had commenced schoolboy soccer with Nicholas Rovers. He subsequently played minor soccer with Clapton Celtic and Western Rovers.  In 1947 Cork Utd signed Frank to replace Tommy Moroney who had joined West Ham. With Cork Utd he received the best possible soccer education as he played alongside stars such as Owen Madden, Seanie McCarthy, Florrie Burke and Davy Noonan and was paid £3 a week for the pleasure. It was then that his ambition of becoming a train driver ended as he set sail instead on the Inisfallen to begin a career with West Ham. It took Frank a while to adjust to the pace of the professional game and whilst learning his football trade at Upton Park he was selected on the Football Combination League team which played the Brussels League. Eventually Frank captained West Ham and became another star graduate of their famous Academy which produced a generation of Football Managers including Malcolm Allison, Malcolm Musgrove, Noel Cantwell, Ken Browne, Jimmy Andrews, Dave Sexton and John Bond.

Frank collected his first cap in 1952 when he played on the side trounced 6-0 by Austria in Vienna. Frank was there again for the return and scored one of the goals in a tremendous 4-0 victory truly exorcising the Ghosts of Vienna. He won a total of nine caps the last being against Czechoslovakia in 1959 when he was a Preston player. Frank’s managerial record is documented elsewhere in this publication.

Stephen O'Halloran

28 Stephen O'Halloran (born November 29, 1987) in Cobh, Co. Cork is an Irish defender playing for Aston Villa. O'Halloran, a left-sided defender who broke into the Villa squad for their2006/2007 pre-season friendlies, has represented the Republic of Ireland at U15, U16, U17 and U21 level. O'Halloran signed for Aston Villa in 2003, and subsequently went out on loan to Wycombe Wanderers on October 20, 2006, until January 2007. He featured in Wycombe's successful Carling Cup run, playing left side of defence in the the first leg of their semi-final against Chelsea, which ended 1-1 after goals from Wayne Bridge and Jermaine Easter. However his loan deal had ended before the second leg, subsequently Wycombe lost 5-1 on aggregate, losing 4-0 in the return to Stamford Bridge. He has since returned to Aston Villa, and been allocated a squad number by manager Martin O'Neill. O'Halloran formerly played for Cobh Ramblers's junior side, Springfield Ramblers, in the Republic of Ireland. On Wednesday 16th May 2007, Stephen was named in Steve Stauntons Republic of Ireland squad for the for the friendlies with Ecuador and Bolivia, before he had made one senior Villa apearance

29 O’Keeffe Timothy Jim

O’Keeffe Timothy Jim (Cork). 1934 v Bel; 1938 v Cz, Pol; (3)

When Timothy Jim O’Keeffe died in the Bon Secours Hospital in Cork in 1943, a victim of cancer, he was just 33 years old. In his short life he had endeared himself to football fans throughout Ireland. The great Jimmy Turnbull donated a set of medals as Cork Utd Past v Present played a match in aid of his dependants and the Irish Army played the League of Ireland for the same cause. In an era of outstanding wingers Timothy Jim was in a class of his own and his tremendous left boot, which earned him the nickname “Cannonball”, contributed the majority of his 113 goals scored in top class football. He was a great winger, he was elusive, a tremendous dribbler and his corner kicks were the sweetest of all. His magnificence with Cork FC attracted the attention of the International selectors and in 1934 was chosen for a match against Belgium. Timothy picked up a knock in the course of the game and was not as effective as he was expected to be. He was the star of Cork’s FAI Cup victory in 1934 and won a second medal when helping Waterford to their only Cup final victory in 1937. At the end of that season he infringed the rules by playing in the Charity Cup final for Belfast Celtic without the permission of Waterford. He was debarred from International soccer and wasn’t considered for games against Switzerland, France and Norway. It became hard to ignore his outstanding form and his International exile ended when he was recalled for matches against Czechoslovakia and Poland. Timothy was also honoured by the League of Ireland selectors and played for an Ireland XI against the Glasgow FA in 1938. A major disappointment was the fact that he missed out on playing for Ireland against Hungary at the Mardyke in 1939 because the boat from Scotland was late and he was forced to withdraw from the side. Of course Waterford’s defeat by Cork Utd in the 1941 Cup final that denied him of a third FAI Cup medal was another hiccup. His contribution to soccer in Ireland had been immense and whenever Cork’s great stars are discussed his name is on everyone’s lips.

30 Kieran O’Regan

O’Regan Kieran (Brighton & HA). 1984 v Ma, Pol; 1985 v M, Sp(sub); (4)

Former Irish Youth International, Kieran, scored a hat-trick against Wales on his debut in 1982. He was honoured five times by the U21’s. Kieran gained his first senior cap as a right-back in the 8-0 victory over Malta in November ‘83. He played three more times for his country and had the distinction of never being on a losing team. Manager Eoin Hand was satisfied with his performances in the scoreless draws against Poland and Mexico at Dalymount. When International football returned to Cork for the first time in 46 years Kieran made his last appearance in the green shirt when coming on as a second half replacement for Chris Hughton as Ireland drew 0-0 with Spain at Flower Lodge.

31 Jackie O’Reilly

O’Reilly Jackie (Cork Utd). 1946 v Po, Sp; (2)

International winger Jackie had the longest senior service of any Cork player. He played with four Cork League clubs, Cork Bohs, Cork, Cork Utd and Cork Ath in a senior career spanning 18 seasons. Jackie attracted the attention of cross-channel scouts after starring for the Cork Utd side that lost to Shams in the 1936 FAI Cup final. Manchester Utd, who won promotion to the English First Division, were particularly interested in Jackie but the Cobh boy choose to sign for Norwich along with team-mate Owen Madden. His subsequent suspension by the FAI for failing to seek their blessing for the move meant that he was confined to International Limbo. In December 1937 Jackie applied for reinstatement but the Free State Council rejected his request. Eventually the FAI relented and Jackie returned to Ireland in 1939 and resumed in the colours of Shelbourne before signing for all-conquering Cork Utd in 1940. With them he won every honour in the game, five Championship, two Cups, Shield and Dublin City Cup. Almost certainly his earlier suspension had deprived him of deserved international recognition but in the twilight of his career he gained his just reward when capped against Portugal as Internationals resumed in 1946. And in Portugal’s Stadium of Light he had the honour of scoring Ireland’s first post-war goal before 60000 excited fans. The 32 year old winger retained his place on the side that beat Spain 1-0 in Madrid and this time Jackie turned provider setting up Josiah Sloan of Arsenal for the match winning goal. Jackie was also honoured by the League and showed his versatility with them; starring as right-winger, left-winger and full back against the Northern Regional League. When Cork Utd disbanded in 1948, Jackie along with other former players Owen Madden and Florrie Burke helped to launch the replacement club Cork Ath and the playing trio became directors of the club. With Athletic Jackie added another Championship medal to the five won with Utd.

32 Pat Saward

Saward Pat (Millwall). 1954 v L; (with Aston Villa), 1957 v E (2); 1958 v D, Pol, A; 1959 v Pol, Cz; 1960 v Se, Ch, WG, Se; 1961 v W, N; (with Huddersfield), 1961 v S; 1962 v A; 1963 v Ic (2). (18) 

Born in Cobh and raised in South London, Pat played 18 times for Ireland in an International career spanning eight years. With Ireland he renewed his great partnership with former Millwall team-mate Charlie Hurley. Pat made his International debut in the away World Cup game against Luxembourg in 1954 and it was to be three years and ten Internationals later before he gained his second against England at Wembley. Pat’s finest game in the green jersey was in 1960 when he captained the side to a shock 1-0 victory over West Germany in Dusseldorf. The Germans had beaten Ireland in their seven previous Internationals and were unbeaten at home in three seasons. Pat lined out for the last time with his country in the 1-1 European Championship draw with Iceland in Reykjavik in 1962. Pat had the honour of becoming the first Corkman to win an FA Cup winners medal when in 1957 he starred for Aston Villa in their marvellous 2-1 victory over the Busby Babes. After his retirement he coached Coventry, managed Brighton and later coached Al NASR, Saudi Arabia

33 Thomas Scannell

Scannell Thomas (Southend). 1954 v L; (1)

Formerly of the National Garrison at Kinsale and born in Youghal he became the second South End keeper to be capped by Ireland when gaining his only honour in place of Jimmy O’Neill in a 1-0 World Cup qualifier victory over Luxembourg in 1954. Tommy first hit the headlines after a fantastic display for an FAI Selected against Glasgow Celtic in April 1953 at Dalymount. Ireland thrilled the large attendance with a deserved odd goal in five victory and newspaper reports credited Scannell with a share of the honours with Dave Noonan and Florrie Burke. The Cork Examiner reported as follows on the ending of a great Scannell record "Burke was harshly penalised for hands and Bobby Collins scored with a fierce drive from the spot to end Scannell's great sequence of fourteen penalties saved." Afterwards most observers wanted to know about the Irish keeper. All that anyone knew of his past was that the English based keeper began his soccer career with Kinsale in the Munster Junior League in 1946. Tommy’s son, Tony, was one of the stars of the TV series “The Bill”.


34 Sullivan Jack (Fordsons). 1928 v Bel; (1) 

Jack Sullivan shared the distinction with Paddy Barry of being the first Cork born players to be capped after the Free State Football Association was reformed in 1921. Jack, a strong commanding centre-half, scored from the penalty spot in Ireland’s 4-2 win over Belgium in Liege in 1928. He made up for a defeat in the 1924 Cup final by leading Fordsons to victory against Shams in the 1926 final. Jack, who was born in Spike Island, won Cork County Senior Football medals with Cobh GAA team and represented his county on several occasions. He continued to play competitive football for another twenty years and was centre-half on the GSR side beaten 2-1 after extra time by B & I Steampacket in the Intermediate Cup final of 1936. He helped Flour Mills to many successes in Inter House football.

35 John Barry

Barry John (Cliftonville), 1888 v S, W; 1889 v E. (with Bohs) 1890 v S (4). 

Prior to the Split in 1921 there was only one Irish Football Association and it had its headquarters in Belfast. One of the stars of Irish football in the very early pioneering years was John Barry a centre-forward with Cliftonville. He starred on the team which defeated Distillery 3-1 in the 1888 Irish Cup final and two years later was on their side beaten 2-1 by the Gordon Highlanders. John Barry lined out at centre forward on the Bohemians team defeated 2-1 by Cliftonville in the 1900 Cup final. While with Cliftonville he won three Irish International caps and added a fourth after moving south to play with Bohs. Unconfirmed reports indicate that Barry (Berry in Rothmans Year book and IFA History) was originally from Mallow where his engraved Irish Cup medal was located some years ago.

Compiled by Cork Sports Historian; Plunkett Carter


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