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A Complete Guide To Every Country In Which Irish Internationals Have Played

A Complete Guide To Every Country In Which Irish Internationals Have Played
By Gavin Cooney Updated

Among the best spin-offs of Ireland's fine Euro 2016 campaign has been the world sitting up and paying attention to Ireland's top performers. Robbie Brady looks set for Champions League with Leicester City, while, most intriguingly, Jeff Hendrick has been linked with a move to Galatasaray in Turkey.

In addition to that, future Irish international Jack Byrne revealed this week he had turned down a move to Israel in favour of linking up with Owen Coyle at Blackburn.

Were Hendrick and Byrne to make these moves, they would be the first Irish internationals to play in these countries. Here's the full list of countries in which Irish internationals have played, excluding Ireland and Great Britain.



A whole host of French clubs have employed Irish internationals. Most famous is Tony Cascarino who played for Marseille and Nancy before ending his career at Parisian side Red Star 93. Mick McCarthy also spent a brief period playing with Lyon, he played ten times for the club in 1989 before being loaned to Millwall, where he ended his career. Frank Stapleton spent the 1988-89 season with Le Havre, where he played alongside fellow Irishman John Byrne.

Less heralded examples include Liam Monroe (capped once by Ireland in 1953) who played with RCF Paris in 1954, Tom Davis (capped four times between 1936-38) who spent a year with FC Metz in 1935 and three-time international Jacko McDonagh, who spent two years with Nimes Olympique between 1985 and 1987.


There was a spate of Irish internationals playing in Spain in the late 1980s. These include John Aldridge (Real Sociedad 1989-91), Liam Buckley (Racing Santander 1986-87), Kevin Moran (Sporting Gijon 1988-90), Alan Campbell (Racing Santander 1984-86, CD Longrones 1986-87), Ashley Grimes (Osasuna 1989-91) and Michael Robinson - formerly of Liverpool - who played with Osasuna between 1987 and 1989.


In the last ten years, a couple of Irish full-backs have played in Spain, namely Steve Finnan (Espanyol 2008-09) and Ian Harte (Levante 2004-07).


Sporting Lisbon picked a couple of Irish internationals in the first part of this century, namely former Irish Under-21 player of the year Alan Mahon (who made two appearances, one of which was against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu) and Phil Babb, who made just four appearances for the club between 2000 and 2002.


Elsewhere, Mickey Walsh (who made 21 appearances for Ireland between 1975 and 1984) spent six years with Porto, before joining fellow Portuguese clubs SC Salgueiros and SC Espinho. Most recently, Dominic Foley - who picked up six caps for Ireland in 2000 - played with Braga between 2003-04.


Jack Byrne has yet to be capped at senior level, so the most recent Irish international to play in Holland was David Connolly, who played with both Feyenoord and Excelsior. Elsewhere, Frank Stapleton played under Johan Cruyff at Ajax in 1987, Peter Fitzgerald (a five-time Irish international in the 1960s) spent the 1959-60 season with Sparta Rotterdam, and Paul McGee (capped 15 times for Ireland) played with HFC Haarlem for a year in 1986.



Ireland's footballing exports to Italy are low on quantity but high on quality. Liam Brady spent seven years in Italy, beginning in 1980 with two seasons with Juventus followed by spells with Sampdoria, Inter Milan and a season with Ascoli. In addition, Robbie Keane made six appearances for Inter Milan in the 2000-01 season.

The only other Irish player to play in Italy was Paddy Sloan,who played with AC Milan, Torino, Udinese and Brescia between 1948 and 1951.


Noel Campbell and Eamon Gregg are the only two Irish internationals to play in Germany. Campbell was most successful, playing 194 games for Fortuna Koln between 1971 and 1979 compared to Gregg's solitary season with VfB Lubeck.


Belguim is well represented on this last, partly owing to the link between Manchester United and Royal Antwerp, that has seen both John O'Shea (in 2001) and Darron Gibson (the 2006-07 season) play on loan at the club. In addition to this, Liam Buckley (1984-86) and Jacko MacDonagh (1988-91) each spent time with KSV Waregem, Frank Stapleton was loaned to Anderlecht from Ajax in 1987, Gary Waddock played with Charleroi for the final two years of the 1980s and most recently Dominic Foley who played with Gent from 2005-09 and Club Brugge from 2009-2012.


Just one Irish international has played in Iceland: Richard Keogh, who played nine games at Vikingur as part of a loan deal from Stoke City in 2004.


Liam Lawrence spent two seasons with PAOK Salonica from 2012-2014, and the well-travelled Dominic Foley began his European career with Ethnikos Piraeus in 1998.


Just the one Irish representative here: Maurice Daly. Daly was capped twice by Ireland in 1978, a year before joining IFK Vasteras, where he spent seven years.


Just two here: Joey Lapira - currently employed by Nybergsund in the Norwegian second division - and John Devine, who played with IK Start in 1988-89. Devine won 13 caps with Ireland between 1979 and 1984.


Three recognisable Irish faces have spent brief stints in Denmark. One-cap wonder Michael Doyle spent the 2000-01 season on loan at AGF Aarhus, where he played alongside Liam Miller. In addition, Kevin Foley spent last season at FC Copenhagen, before returning to England with Ipswich.


One Irish international has played in Austria, Eric Barber. Barber with Wiener Sport-Club in the 1970-71 season, before returning to Ireland to finish his career with Shelbourne.


Just two: current St Pat's manager Liam Buckley played with Montreux-Sports between 1987 and 1989 and Don Givens spent the final years of his career with Neuchatel Xamax before taking up a coaching role at the club.


Again, a solitary representative: Cillian Sheridan, with Apoel Nicosia and, more recently, Omonia Nicosia.


An easy one: Aiden McGeady, with Spartak Moscow between 2010 and 2014. A mixed spell that yielded 12 goals in 72 games.


Like Cyprus, Cavan's Cillian Sheridan is the only Irish international to have played in Bulgaria: with CSKA Sofia, whom he joined from Celtic in 2010.


Remarkably, one Irish international has played in Malta: Paddy Sloan, who followed his nomadic spell in Italy with a year playing for Rabat Ajax in 1954.


Darren O'Dea the only Irish representative here by dint of his spell with Metarluh Donetsk.


South Africa

Few Irish internationals have played in Africa, and those that have all did so in South Africa. Former Irish manager Eoin Hand played with Port Elizabeth City in 1973, before joining Lusitano in Johannesburg in 1975. He rejoined the club in 1977.

In addition, Jimmy Dunne spent the 1974-75 season with Durban City and Terry Mancini spent a year with Port Elizabeth City in 1966.


Hong Kong

An Irish international has, in fact, played in Hong Kong: Terry Conroy, who spent a season with the now-defunct Bulova SA in 1979.


The weird symmetry between the careers of Joey Lapira and John Devine continues: before both went to Norway, they both played in India: Devine spent the 1987-88 season with East Bengal, and Lapira turned out for United Sikkim F.C. Darren O'Dea has also played in India with Mumbai City last year.


Bizarrely, Niall Quinn played one game with Thai side BEC Tero Sasana in 2004 as part of a deal between English Premier League's Arsenal and BEC-Tero Entertainment. The Thai television channel then launched a reality show called "The Arsenal Dream", inviting yougsters to impress for a chance to train with the Gunners.

Elsewhere, Andy Keogh played eight games with FC Ratchaburi in 2015.

Saudi Arabia

Eamonn O'Keefe played five times for Ireland between 1981 and 1985. In the decade previous, he spent the 1975-76 season with Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia.


Caleb Folan was last seen playing his football in Myanmar, with Kanbawza FC.


Previous to that, the peripatetic Folan spent 2013 in Malaysia with T-Team.


Former Cork City striker Joe Gamble was last spotted playing with Brunei DMM FC.



Unsurprisingly lots here. Andy Keogh is currently in red-hot form with Perth Glory, the season after Damien Duff departed Melbourne City and Jimmy Dunne travelled south of Africa to play with Green Gully and Brisbane City in the 1970s. In addition Liam Miller  has turned out for Perth Glory, Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City in the past five years.

Of some of the less recognisable names: Jackie Hennessey (five Ireland caps in the mid 1960s) spent the 1969-70 season with South Coast United, Jerry Murphy (three Ireland caps in the 1970s) played with the marvellously named Wollongong City and John O'Neill (selected once by Ireland in 1960) played with Melbourne Hakoah.

New Zealand

Terry Phelan ended a 25-year playing career with Otago United of Dunedin in 2009.

North America

A bewildering amount of Irish players have played in the United States and Canada. This is mostly an exercise in remembering the fantastic names of North American clubs in the last century, so here are those clubs along with the Irish players who played for them:

Vancouver Whitecaps

Once managed by John Giles, Vancouver have attracted myriad Irish internationals, most recently Andy O'Brien. Others are: Fran O'Brien (four Irish caps earned in 1978), Jimmy Holmes (30 appearances for Ireland between 1971-81), Mick Martin, Pierce O'Leary (seven Irish caps in 1979) and Liam Buckley. 

Montreal Manic

What an incredible name, seemingly only graced by the aforementioned Fran O'Neill, in the 1981-82 season.

Hamilton Steelers

Again, a well-named club for whom Fran O'Neill played for in 1991.

Toronto Metros-Croatia

A club for whom Ray Treacy played for in 1978 with some distinction, netting five goals in 23 appearances while on loan from West Brom.

United States
Philadelphia Fury

The Fury have been very well-served by Irish internationals, most notably John Giles, who made 21 appearances for the club in 1978. The same year saw Fran O'Brien, John Dempsey (a 19-cap Irish international), Patrick Byrne (who picked up eight Irish caps between 1984 and 1986), and Pierce O'Leary all play with the club.

Philadelphia Celtic

The precursor to Fury, Philadelphia Celtic had a number of Irish representatives including Bob Fullam (who played twice for Ireland in 1926 and 1927), Denis Doyle, who played ten games with the club in 1927, a year after his sole international appearance with the Irish Free State.

Seattle Storm

Another well-monikered club chosen by Fran O'Brien, who may just have the greatest club career of all time.

New England Tea Men

Gerry Daly made 48 appearances for Ireland between 1973 and 1986. In the middle of his international career, he played the 1978-79 season with the New England Tea Men, whom we hope make a re-emergence in the future.

Los Angeles Aztecs

Before we had Robbie Keane at LA Galaxy, Austin Hayes (another one-cap wonder, this time from 1979), Terry Mancini played with the LA Aztecs: Hayes in 1977, Mancini in '78.

Brooklyn Wanderers

The New-York based Wanderers have previously selected Christy Martin (one Irish appearance in 1929) and Joe Kendrick (five Irish caps between 1924 and 1935).

New York Yankees

A club that were not always the sole preserve of baseball, as proven by Denis Doyle, who played nine games for them in 1926. Doyle is also the only Irish international to have played for Fall River Marksmen (1927-29) and Pawtucket Rangers (1929-31).

Chicago Spurs

Spurs have seen Eric Barber and Joe Haverty (32 caps and three goals for Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s) wear their colours.

Kansas City Spurs

Another Spurs side for whom Eric Barber and Joe Haverty have played for.

Indiana Flooring

These are in fact a football club, for whom Harry Chatton has played for. Chatton played three times for the Irish team between 1931 and 1934, in a career that also encompassed a spell with the New York Nationals.

Portland Timbers

The reigning MLS champions can include Jimmy Conway and Terry Donovan among their former players.

Colorado Rapids

Much-travelled Caleb Folan has had a spell with the Rapids, and Kevin Doyle and Ireland's sole Euro 2012 goalscorer Sean St Ledger are currently at the club. St Ledger has previously played in MLS with Orlando City.

Tampa Bay Rowdies

An incongrous choice by the notoriously phlegmatic Mark Lawrenson, who made 20 appearances for the the club in 1989.

Washington Diplomats

Tony Macken, who made one appearance for Ireland in 1977, played in the capital while on loan from Derby County the same year. A year later, he secured another loan move, this time to Dallas Tornado in Texas. Tony Dunne preceded Macken with the Diplomats - completing a two-year stint from 1975 and 1977 - and had a more successful international career, making 33 appearances for Ireland. Dunne would later play with Detroit Express in 1979.

New York Apollo

Tommy McConville found another New York club to join in 1978, having picked up six caps for Ireland.

Minnesota Kicks

Steve Heighway left Liverpool to join Minnesota Kicks for a year in 1981, where he made 26 appearances, scoring four goals.

Lafayette Swamp Cats

The greatest club name on this list featured one Lapira, Joseph on their roster in 2004. He made two appearances for them in three years, before joining the Baton Rouge Capitals.

See Also: QUIZ: Can You Identify These 9 Irish Grounds From The Road Outside?

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