Here's The Last Irish Football International From Every County In The Country

Here's The Last Irish Football International From Every County In The Country

Darragh Lenihan's call-up to the Irish squad reminded us of one of the weirdest anomalies in Irish sport - there has never been a Republic of Ireland international from the county of Meath.

Hopefully this is something that changes very soon with the arrival of the Dunboyne man.

Unfortunately, there's still nothing on the horizon from Offaly, Carlow, Tyrone, Leitrim, and at least until Ireland's trip to Turkey on March 23rd, we can't yet add Meath to this list.

If you know of any Irish (senior) internationals from any of these places, be sure to let us know and we will update.


Marc Wilson



Born in Aghagallon, Wilson played for Lisburn Boys in soccer and Gaelic football for his school St. Paul's in Lurgan, the school which Neil Lennon also attended.

The GAA website furnishes us with this detail:

They boast a number of famous past pupils such as Celtic manager Neil Lennon and current Irish soccer international Marc Wilson. Lennon captained the U14 school team in the 1985 Ulster championship while Wilson won a McDevitt Cup medal in 2001 and scored a goal in the final.



Paddy Sloan

Paddy Sloan was one of four Northern players to feature in the Iberian double header in 1946.

Born in Lurgan, Sloan played in many countries including Malta and Italy. During his time in the latter, he played for Milan, Torino, Udinese and Brescia.

Sloan played along with the Antrim trio of Jimmy McAlinden, Jackie Vernon and Billy MacMillan in the Iberian tour of '46, having all previously played for Northern Ireland. All three Antrim lads played for Belfast Celtic, with McAlinden and Vernon travelling south to play for Shamrock Rovers.

Ireland lost 3-1 in the opener to Portugal but then shocked Spain 1-0 the following week.



Cillian Sheridan


Bailleborough born Sheridan has proven there are more Irish soccer internationals from Cavan than there are hurlers (or sliotars probably).



Paddy Bermingham

A policeman, an Olympian, a ten-time national discus champion and Irish record holder in that event, he also played once for the Irish Free State soccer team in 1934.

He scored and everything as Ireland lost 4-2 to Hungary. Played club football for St. James's Gate. He was born in the town of Moyasta in Clare.



Kevin Long / Alan Browne

There was a glut of recent debuts of Cork men for Ireland. Conor Hourihane and John Egan both made their first appearance in a friendly against Iceland in 2017, while in our next match, in June that year, Burnley's Kevin Long and Preston's Alan Browne both debuted in an Irish loss to Mexico.

Browne and Long both came through Cork City before earning moves to England.




Eunan O'Kane


It is now de riguer for Derry men to play for the Republic, with James McClean, Shane Duffy and Darron Gibson leading the way.

The most recent addition to the Irish team from the county is Eunan O'Kane, now of Leeds United. He won the first of his seven caps in a pre-Euro 2016 friendly against Switzerland.




Seamus Coleman


Donegal's strong football culture has produced many players down the years. Now the Irish captain, the Killybegs man might be the best of them all.




John Feenan

Born in Newry, he played for Newry Town and Belfast Celtic. Earned two caps for the Irish Free State, which then laid claim to the entire island. Feenan holds a 100% with Ireland, beating Switzerland 1-0 and then France 2-0 the following week.


Andy Boyle


One of the most recent of thousands, Boyle is the last Dubliner to make his Ireland debut, doing so against Iceland in March 2017.  Far more Dubliners have played for Ireland than have players from the rest of the country combined.



Tommy Donnelly

The Enniskillen born forward played in the League of Ireland for both Drumcondra and Shamrock Rovers and won two Irish caps in 1937-38, scoring in the latter.




Daryl Horgan

The former star of the League of Ireland, it wasn't until Horgan moved to Preston that he was given his first Ireland cap, although he did make the bench in a World Cup qualifier against Austria while still at Dundalk.

David Forde, Alan Lee and Greg Cunningham have also played internationally since the turn of the century.


Interestingly, themmost well-known Irish full-back of the 1970s, Paddy Mulligan, though born in Dublin, is an ardent Galway GAA supporter and, in the late 1980s, trained the Dublin based Galway footballers (Brian Talty, Barry Brennan, etc). In 1987, with Mulligan running the Dublin sessions, Galway were a whisker away from reaching the All-Ireland final, with Cork's Larry Tompkins landing a late free to force a replay in the All-Ireland semi-final.




Tony O'Connell



Peter Byrne informs us that O'Connell is the only Kerry-born man to play for Ireland. O'Connell's accent however wouldn't lead one to suspect he was born in Tralee.

The current life President of Bohemians played for Shamrock Rovers, Dundalk and Bohs. He terrorised Jimmy Armfield down the right wing on the famous night the League of Ireland defeated the Football League in 1963.

He was the first person in the UK or Ireland to plaster sponsors on jerseys in the early 1970s, when the name of his company 'Jodi' was emblazoned across the Bohemians jerseys.

Intriguingly, he later involved himself with Northern side Crusaders, where his money helped them to two League titles in the middle of the 1990s.

Brentford's John Egan could possibly make a claim to this title. He made his debut in friendly against Iceland in 2017. His father John is a Kerry Gaelic football legend and his mother also represented Kerry in Camogie. However, given John was born in Cork and grew up in Bishopstown, Tony O'Connell holds onto his title for another while anyway.




Mick Kearin



A lengthy League of Ireland career which took in spells at Bohemians, Shamrock Rovers and Athlone Town, Kearin earned his sole Ireland cap away to Austria in 1971. It was a chastening night as Ireland shipped a 6-0 defeat against their bogey team.

(Cheers to Mick's son Darren for sending on this great picture of Mick in action.)



Sean Maguire

The latest addition to the list, having made his Ireland debut in the World Cup qualifier against Moldova late last year.

Maguire replaces Matt O'Mahony of Mullinavat who had held his pace on the list since the 1930s.



Tony Byrne

Stephen Hunt was born in Laois but is essentially a product of Waterford. Tony Byrne, by contrast, was born in Rathdowney, leaving for England as an eighteen year old.

He earned 14 caps for Ireland in the late 1960s and early 70s.




Steve Finnan


Despite his accent, Finnan was born in Limerick. The voice was shaped by Chelmsford, the town to which he moved at a young age. He is by no means the first Limerick man to play for Ireland.




Willie Browne

willie 'Sheila' Darcy with Willie Browne's wife in 2013

A student in St. Mel's, Browne began his career with Longford Town but ultimately became more associated with Bohemians.

Bohs were still resolutely amateur and the elegant central defender Browne was, for many years, the last amateur capped for Ireland. It was a title he might have expected to hold forever. He died in 2004, three years before Joe Lapira stole this mantle from him.

He earned three caps for Ireland in 1963-64 against Austria, Spain and England, starring in particular in the 0-0 draw in Vienna.


He was at the heart of the defence the night the League of Ireland defeated the Football League. An accountant by profession, he also featured for the League of Ireland on an unhappier evening when they conceded eleven against the Scottish League.

This formed the basis of a story he told Peter Byrne later on.

He was walking down the street a week later and he met this Dublin fella coming up and he said 'Hey Willie, I know why you were selected for that team that played in Glasgow. You're an accountant by profession aren't you?' And Browne said, 'I am', He said 'the only reason they brought you to Glasgow was to count the goals going in against the Irish.

He was the SWAI Personality of the Year 1963. The Longford Town website even writes that the club adopted the red and black strip in response to Browne's association with Bohemians.




Ian Harte


The Dundalk-Drogheda duopoly in Louth has produced many Irish internationally down the years, most famously Steve Staunton.



Ollie Conmy


Conmy and his family were forced to emigrate from his birthplace of Mulraney when he was eight. Played for Huddersfield Town and Peterborough United over the course of his career. Was signed by Bill Shankly at the former.

He earned five caps for Ireland in the latter half of the 1960s.

110 cap Kevin Kilbane has strong family routes in Achill and is often seen at Mayo games these days, though he grew up in Preston.



Jonathan Douglas


The former Monaghan United player had a great career in England for over 15 years and was a regular in Steve Staunton Irish squads, earning the last of his 8 caps in 2007.



Dinny Hannon


Hannon was born in Connaught Street in Athlone, a town which has produced a fair number of Irish internationals (at least until the 1970s). He captained the Irish Free State in their first ever international at the 1924 Olympics, in which they beat Bulgaria 1-0.

Hannon was a solicitor who played for both Bohemians and Athlone Town. The appropriately named 'Connaught Street', we are reliably informed, pokes its way into Roscommon.

We are open to correction on this, however.

Either way, Hannon served as the solicitor for Roscommon County Council in later life.




Paul McGee


McGee played for about 10,000 clubs during his lengthy career. He flitted between Sligo Rovers and Galway United routinely, spending about five different spells at each.

He holds the Irish record for movement between clubs (34) and remains Galway United's highest ever scorer.

Scored four times in fifteen appearances for Ireland between 1978 and 1980.




Shane Long


Long scored 2-1 for Tipperary in the Munster Minor final of 2004, and featured in All-Ireland minor semi-finals against Galway and Kilkenny in 2003 and 2004.




Daryl Murphy


After Cork and Dublin, the county that has possibly produced the most Irish soccer internationals. Daryl Murphy and John O'Shea have been the latest servants under Martin O'Neill.


Turlough O'Connor



A member of a famous Athlone footballing family, O'Connor began his career with Athlone but enjoyed his best spell with the successful Bohemians team of the 1970s, scoring over one hundred goals and winning League titles in 1975 and 78.

Scored two goals in seven games in the late 60s and early 70s.



Kevin Doyle



From Adamstown, he intervened in the 2011 general election urging a vote for Mick Wallace. May well have been decisive.

Follows in the footsteps of another illustrious Wexford international, Bill Lacey, who played for Liverpool and Everton and featured on the first Ireland to win the British Championship in 1914.



Darren Randolph


A Bray man, Randolph made his start with Ardmore Rovers before heading across the pond to join Charlton Athletic where he turned pro in 2004. A basketball star at Pres Bray, he decided to focus on football after realising he would never make the NBA. We think it worked out pretty well. Undoubtedly Ireland's Number 1.

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