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Ranking the 8 best current internationals with a League of Ireland background

Seamus Coleman, Shane Long and a number of others began their footballing life in the domestic game.

8. David Meyler

David Meyler Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

(David Meyler pictured prior to an Ireland friendly last year)

MEYLER CAME THROUGH the youth system at Cork City and made a couple of senior appearances before securing a move to Sunderland in 2008.

7. David Forde

David Forde Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

(Derry City goalkeeper David Forde in 2006)

The player with the most experience of playing League of Ireland on this list, Forde had two stints apiece at Galway United and Derry City, in between brief spells at Barry Town and West Ham, before joining Cardiff in 2006.

6. Stephen Quinn

Stephen Quinn Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

(Stephen Quinn in action against Georgia last year)

Quinn had a short spell at St Pat’s at the start of his career, before being signed by Sheffield United in 2005.

5. Daryl Murphy

Dave Rogers and Daryl Murphy 1/4/2005 Source: INPHO

(Dave Rogers of Shels and Daryl Murphy of Waterford in 2005)

After being released by Luton in 2000, Murphy spent three years at Waterford United, before signing a two-year contract at Sunderland, following a season that that saw him score 14 goals and win the PFAI Young Player of the Year award.

4. James McClean

James McClean Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

(James McClean of Derry City in 2011)


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Appeared regularly for Derry between 2008 and 2011, before joining Sunderland for a fee of £350,000.

3. Wes Hoolahan

Wes Hoolahan and Juan Valeron Source: INPHO

(Wes Hoolahan of Shels and Juan Valeron of Deportivo in 2004)

John Giles claims he recommended Hoolahan to a Premier League club during his early Shelbourne days, but the player was deemed “too small” by the team in question. After making over 100 appearances at Shels, he joined Livingston in Scotland and later played for Blackpool and Norwich (his current club).

2. Shane Long

Shane Long celebrates scoring a goal Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

(Shane Long celebrates scoring in the recent Euro 2016 qualifier against Poland)

Brought to Cork City with a scholarship by Pat Dolan, Long’s talent quickly became apparent and he left the Irish club to sign for Reading in 2005.

1. Seamus Coleman

Eric McGill with Seamus Coleman Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

(Shamrock Rovers’ Eric McGill with Seamus Coleman of Sligo in 2008)

Joined Sligo Rovers as a teenager in 2006, before being signed by Everton in 2009 for just £60,000. He is now considered as one of the best full-backs in the Premier League.

A version of this piece was originally published on 10 June, 2015

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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