Ireland may not be the most renowned football giant in international competitions, neither does it have the most reliable domestic league. But it has produced its fair share of top-drawer footballers who have had the world stop and stare. Here are a few of those.
Arguably the best midfielder Ireland ever produced, Roy Keane was more than just a player. He was a leader and a warrior, never afraid to stand up to opponents even when the game went over the edge. He was especially bullish during the Manchester United versus Arsenal clashes that formed a great English football rivalry in the early 2000s.
Keane played for United between 1993 and 2005, amassing 17 trophies in the process. His refusal to continue with preparations for the 2002 World Cup lifted the lid on the rot in the Irish FA. He also had a stint in his country’s national team management between 2013 and 2018. He now works as a TV pundit.
Another Irishman who turned out for Manchester United, McGrath was involved in a career spanning almost two decades. He started out at St. Patrick’s Athletic in 1981 and ended his career at Sheffield United in 1998. In between, he spent eight seasons at both United and Aston Villa, where he was a top central defender.
Duff played as a winger, and much of his fame came during his time at Chelsea. He spent three years at Stamford Bridge between 2003 and 2006, scoring 14 goals in 81 appearances. He also turned out for Fulham, Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers in the English top division. Duff was capped 100 times for the Ireland national team.
Robbie was less abrasive than his namesake Roy but no less instrumental. He bagged 68 goals for the national team, and his career ran from 1997 to 2018. He played for 12 teams including Spurs, Wolves, Liverpool and Inter Milan.