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Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 19 May 2021

Irish women's football legend Anne O'Brien dies aged 60

The Dubliner is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s greatest-ever female footballers

File pic.
File pic.
Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

IRISH WOMEN’S FOOTBALL legend Anne O’Brien has passed away at the age of 60.

Dublin-born O’Brien, who is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s greatest-ever female footballers, died after a short illness in Rome.

In addition to featuring for Dublin side All Stars, O’Brien also had spells in Italy and France, with Reims, Lazio, AC Milan and Reggiana among the clubs she represented, winning six Serie A titles and two Coppa Italias in the process.

Following a playing career that spanned three decades from the 1960s to the 1990s, O’Brien later coached a number of teams including Lazio and Italy’s U17 side.

But despite her success at club level, O’Brien earned just four caps at international level, as the Women’s Football Association of Ireland was a separate organisation to the FAI at the time and had limited resources.

Speaking in reaction to the news, FAI CEO John Delaney paid tribute to O’Brien.

“Anne O’Brien was a real legend in women’s football and her death today is a terrible loss to her family and friends,” he said.

Her loss will also be felt amongst those pioneers of the women’s game in Ireland who were inspired by her achievements to keep promoting women’s football. She achieved so much and blazed a trail for those Irish female internationals now forging careers in football.

“We will pay tribute to Anne’s memory at the Georgia international in October.”

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Paul Fennessy

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