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Irish football legends Paul McGrath and Anne O'Brien inducted into hall of fame

It is the second successive year that both a male and female football personality have been given the award.

Paul McGrath won 83 caps for Ireland.
Paul McGrath won 83 caps for Ireland.
Image: SPORTSFILE

THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION of Ireland have confirmed that Paul McGrath and Anne O’Brien are the latest inductees into the hall of fame.

McGrath and family members connected to the late O’Brien were invited to FAI HQ in Abbotstown to receive the awards, with an official show unable to take place this year owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is the second successive year that both a male and female football personality have been given the award, which has been running since 1997.

Former Manchester United and Aston Villa defender McGrath was recognised for a career that saw him earn 83 international caps at senior level, including games at Euro ’88, as well as both the 1990 and 1994 World Cup.

FAI Interim Deputy CEO Niall Quinn, who played alongside McGrath for Ireland, said: “I have to admit that I was a little bit star struck when I met Paul at Abbotstown to present him with Hall of Fame award — and I played with him! That just tells you the stature of the man.

“The word legend can be used very freely these days but Paul is just that, a legend of world football and not just an Irish hero. He was there for all the great days of the Jack Charlton era and it was a pleasure to play with him and be around him in those Ireland squads.

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“Paul is a very humble man to this day and to meet him again was such a pleasure. He is one of the greatest players we have ever seen and his arrival into the FAI’s Hall of Fame is so well deserved.”

Dubliner O’Brien, who passed away in 2016, was a trailblazing football figure, featuring for the Irish women’s team and enjoying memorable stints playing her club football in both France and Italy.

A technically gifted midfielder, she won six league titles and two Italian Women’s Cups, and considered one of the best foreign imports to ever grace Italian football.

O’Brien also comes from a rich footballing heritage. She is related to both John Giles and Jimmy Conway, while her nephew Ger is a former St Patrick’s Athletic captain.

O’Brien’s brother, Paul, accepted the award on her behalf and said:  ”This is a fantastic honour to recognise what Anne did. She would have been delighted with this and our family are very appreciative for it. We’d like to thank the FAI for remembering Anne and what she did in her footballing career.”

Source: FAI TV/YouTube

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