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Legendary goalkeeper Emma Byrne to become first woman inducted into FAI Hall of Fame

Byrne won 134 senior caps for Ireland during her career.

EMMA BYRNE WILL make history at this this weekend’s FAI International Awards.

Byrne, who retired in 2017 after a decorated career in football, will become the first woman inducted into the FAI’s Hall of Fame.

unnamed Emma Byrne will be honoured at Sunday's FAI International Awards. Source: Seb Daly/SPORTSFILE

In an Ireland career that began in 1996, the Kildare-born goalkeeper was capped 134 times, making her the country’s record appearance holder at senior international level.

At Sunday’s event which will take place at RTÉ studios, Byrne will follow in the footsteps of the likes of Liam Brady and Robbie Keane in receiving Hall of Fame recognition.

“From the time that she first burst onto the underage international stage at age 14, Emma was a fantastic servant to the women’s game, representing her country at every age level and winning multiple honours at club level,” said Niamh O’Donoghue, FAI board member and chairperson of the Women’s Football Committee.

“She was a tremendous role model for young girls around the country and I’ve no doubt that she inspired an entire generation of girls to follow their dreams of becoming a professional footballer.”

At club level, Byrne enjoyed a stellar 17-year spell at Arsenal, with whom she won every major honour available, including 11 league titles, 10 FA Cups and one Champions League.

Soccer - FA Women's Cup - Final - Arsenal v Leeds United - City Ground Byrne enjoyed enormous success at Arsenal. Source: EMPICS Sport

FAI CEO John Delaney said: “To pull on the Ireland jersey is a special thing, but to do it on 134 occasions is quite remarkable. Emma has earned her right to be described as an Irish legend.

“Emma was a fantastic goalkeeper and ambassador for the women’s game. She deserves to have her name in the Hall of Fame, alongside some of the best players ever to represent Ireland.”

The FAI International Awards will be broadcast live on RTÉ 2 at 8.30pm on Sunday evening.

Previous Hall of Fame recipients

2017: Damien Duff
2016: Robbie Keane
2015: Tony Cascarino
2014: Andy Townsend
2013: Ronnie Whelan
2012: Kevin Sheedy
2011: Ray Houghton
2010: Frank Stapleton
2009: Ray Treacy
2008: Arthur Fitzsimons
2007: Paddy Mulligan
2006: Don Givens
2005: Mick Martin
2004: Gerry Daly
2002: Liam Tuohy
2001: Liam Brady
2000: Joe Haverty
1999: 1949 Ireland team v England
1998: Shay Brennan/Tony Dunne
1997: Kevin O’Flanagan

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Paul Dollery

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