5 Players From Ireland's Last Win Over France That Went Down Very Different Career Paths

5 Players From Ireland's Last Win Over France That Went Down Very Different Career Paths

Gary Connaughton By Gary Connaughton

Ireland will face France on Monday evening, a fixture where very few will expect Stephen Kenny's side to pick up a positive result.

Of course, there is plenty of history between the two nations. The Thierry Henry handball has gone down in infamy, with the teams having also met in the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign.

However, you would have to go all the way back to 1981 to find Ireland's most recent victory over France.

It came in a World Cup qualifier at Lansdowne Road, with goals from Frank Stapleton, Michael Robinson, and a French own goal helping Eoin Hand's team to a 3-2 win in front of a crowd of 53,000 spectators.

This was a brilliant result against incredibly talented opposition, with France going on to reach the semi-finals of that World Cup and win the Euros in 1984. As for Ireland, they were robbed of an opportunity to play at the tournament in Spain by some incredibly dodgy refereeing decisions.

Some of the players that featured in that game on October 14th, 1981 went on to have intriguing careers both inside and outside of football.

The journeys of players from Ireland's last victory over France

Mick Martin

The son of Irish legend Con Martin, Dubliner Mick started his career with Bohemians, spending five years with the club before moving across the Irish Sea to join Manchester United in 1973. He would stay for a couple of seasons at Old Trafford, before taking in stops at West Brom and Newcastle United.


Martin was still a Newcastle player at this time, starting in midfield at Lansdowne Road. Having made his Ireland debut in 1971, he would earn 51 international caps, the last of which came in 1983.

A short spell at Vancouver Whitecaps would follow in 1984, before the player bounced around various lower league clubs in England. He would retire in 1987 after two seasons at Preston North End.

After hanging up his boots, Martin settled in the Newcastle area. He opened up a bookies in 1987 and a sports shop a couple of years later. He would also cover Newcastle games on local radio.


Michael Robinson

14 October 1981; Jean Castaneda, France, catches possession ahead of Michael Robinson, Republic of Ireland. Picture credit; Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

A native of Leicester, Michael Robinson qualified to play for Ireland through the 'granny rule'. Making his debut against the French in this campaign the previous year, he would go on to earn 24 caps in green.


At club level, he began his career at Preston before moving to Manchester City and then Brighton. He was a Seagulls player at this time, earning a move to Liverpool a year later. While he was never a first choice player at Anfield, he was part of league, European Cup, and League Cup triumphs during his 18 months or so at the club.

A move to Spain would ultimately be a defining moment in Robinson's life. Having joined Osasuna in 1986, he would spend two seasons as a player at the club before hanging up his boots. However, instead of moving back to the UK, he would embark on a long broadcasting career in Spain.

Having started his Spanish broadcasting career at Italia 90, the former striker would become one of the biggest names in punditry in the country. Having hosted the iconic El día después for 14 years, he also covered Ireland games on Setanta Sports for a time.


He would pass away at the age of 61 in 2020, resulting in an outpouring of tributes from some of the biggest names in Spanish, British, and Irish sport.

Seamus McDonagh

Seamus McDonagh, known more commonly as 'Jim', earned 25 caps for Ireland from 1981-1985. Born in Rotherham, he qualified for the country via his father.

Having started his playing career at local club Rotherham United, it was at Bolton Wanderers that he first came to prominence. He impressed at the club in the First Division, and while they would be relegated in 1980, he was signed by Everton. However, despite spending one season as their no. 1, the emergence of Neville Southall meant that he quickly returned to Bolton.


After another couple of seasons as their first choice goalkeeper, McDonagh would spend the latter stages of his career as backups at various lowers league clubs, as well as a spell with Galway United. In fact, he would act as player-manager at the League of Ireland club in the 1988/89 season.

After retirement, McDonagh would embark on a lengthy career in coaching. He held posts at the likes of Coventry City, Mansfield Town, Millwall, and Leicester City to name but a few.

After linking up with Martin O'Neill at Sunderland in 2011, he would follow him into the Ireland setup after his appointment a couple of years later. He acted as the team's goalkeeping coach up until O'Neill's dismissal in 2018.


Liam Brady

14 October 1981; Republic of Ireland captain Liam Brady, right, shakes hands with France captain Michel Platini. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

One of the most talented players Ireland has ever produced, Liam Brady needs no introduction. Having started his professional career at Arsenal, the Dubliner had already won a Serie A title at Juventus at the time this fixture took place. He would add second title a few months later, before joining Sampdoria.

Of course, he would also take in stops at Inter Milan and Ascoli during his time in Italy. He retired in 1990 after a three-year spell with West Ham.

Brady's management career is often glossed over, although he did spend two seasons at both Celtic and Brighton & Hove Albion. However, it was his role in the Arsenal academy that he would really establish himself as a key figure. He acted as their Head of Youth Development and Academy Director for 18 years before leaving the role in 2014.

He would couple that position with being a pundit on RTÉ, taking a brief hiatus from our screens when acting as an Ireland assistant under Giovanni Trapattoni from 2008-2010.

Brady remains a prominent part of RTÉ's football coverage up until the present day.

Chris Hughton

While a number of members of this side would dip their toes into coaching, there is no doubt that Chris Hughton has had the most successful career of the bunch.

In his playing days, the London born fullback earned 53 caps for Ireland and was part of the squads for both Euro 88 and Italia 90 (although he did not play at the latter). At club level, he spent the cast majority of his career at Spurs, making 398 appearances for the club. He would retire in 1993 after spells at West Ham and Brentford.

Having acted as a coach at Spurs at various levels from 1993-2007, Hughton would also have a spell as Ireland assistant manager under Brian Kerr.

His first management role came at Newcastle United, going on to have successful stints at Birmingham City, Norwich City, and Brighton. While he did struggle at Nottingham Forest, he has since moved into international football.

Hughton was appointed as a technical advisor for Ghana in 2022, the country of his father's birth. He would be appointed as the nation's manager earlier this month.

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