Inductee: PAUL McGRATH
Times Past Soccer International
Nation's Favourite Soccer International.. A Mighty Pillar For Ireland
London born Paul McGrath is probably one of Ireland's most popular players of all times and is a soccer icon whose reputation on the football field had few equals. Troubled all through his career by severe knee ailments at an early stage, he still managed to perform at the highest level in Premier League football, first with Manchester United, who signed Paul from League Of Ireland team, St. Patrick's Atletic.
Irish soccer fans have numerous fond memories of the ‘Black Pearl’ of Irish soccer who was the backbone of the Republic of Irelands great rise to the pinnacle of World Cup football in 19900 and again in 1994.
Since Paul's demise from international football, Ireland are still searching for a worthy replacement and this task is not made any easier when many football experts rated Paul as the complete natural world class defender. He was a terrace hero at all the clubs he played for and in 1985, United fans applauded their hero off the field when he single – handedly kept out Everton in the F.A. Cup final after Kevin Moran’s dismissal.
The appointment of Alex Ferguson and a combination of events off the field, meant that the new United manager would off load a gifted player in 1989. However Paul simply carried on with exceptional parformances at his new club, Aston Villa and many genuine United fans never forgave Alex Ferguson for a grave error of judgement on a genius footballer.
His career with Ireland took him to many famous international stadiums and the World Cup of 1990 witnessed some majestic displays by Paul as Ireland reached the quarter finals for the first time ever. Paul McGraths wry grin and quietly spoken soft accent, belied a fearsome approach to defensive play and when teams of much greater natural ability were confronted by Ireland and Paul McGrath, the men in green had at the back door a protector who shut out most opponents.
Injuries and an addiction played a key role off the field and undone only some of Paul's majestic talent but it was his love affair with Irish soccer fans that took him over the threshold many times. In retirement Paul McGrath still retains an immense warmth when he appears on TV and soccer fans can never seem to get enough of the famous soccer entertainer even some decades after he finally hung up his boots.
Incorporating Ireland's wonderful soccer icon into the All Ireland Hall Of Fame Online Gallery will further preserve and promote around the globe the Golden Memories of Ireland's soccer ace, the legendary Paul McGrath.
Place of Birth: Ealing, London, England
Date of Birth: 4th December 1959
Nationality: Irish (Irish mother)
Football Clubs: Pearse Rovers, Dalkey United, St. Patricks Athletic (Ireland), Mancester United, Aston Villa, Derby County, Sheffield United.
International Player: Republic of Ireland 1985 – 1997
Caps/Goal: 83 caps & 8 goals
International Debut: V Italy on 5th February 1985
English League Club Debut: Manchester United V Spurs 1982
Club Appearances: 519 (all English clubs)
Honours: F.A. Cup Medal 1985 – Manchester United
League Cup Medals: 1994 & 1996 with Aston Villa
P.F.A Ireland Player of the Year: 1981/82
P.F.A Player of the Year: 1983
Aston Villa’s most capped international player: 51 Caps
Moved to St. Patricks athletic in 1981 from Dalkey United.
St. Patricks Athletic to Manchester United 1982 Fee: £30,000
Compiled by Derry JF Doody