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Dublin: 2°C Sunday 11 April 2021
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League Two club donating portion of new shirt's sales to Irish defender who was forced to retire

Mark O’Brien had to call time on his career at the age of 27.

PA-44885178 Former Newport County captain Mark O'Brien. Source: Nick Potts/PA Archive/PA Images

DUBLINER MARK O’BRIEN is set to benefit from the sales of a new shirt that has been unveiled by League Two club Newport County.

At the age of 27, O’Brien was forced to retire last June due to a problem with the aortic valve in his heart, which required surgery.

The central defender, who was the Welsh club’s captain, made 127 appearances after making the move to Rodney Parade from Luton Town in 2017.

Newport County are now offering financial support to O’Brien via a special shirt which has been commissioned to mark the 40th anniversary of their run to the quarter-finals of the 1980-81 European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Representing Wales, they suffered a 3-2 aggregate defeat to Carl Zeiss Jena. The East German club went on to beat Benfica in the semi-finals, before losing the decider to Dinamo Tbilisi.

The commemorative shirt, produced by Hummel, is now available to order, priced at £45 for adults and £37.50 for juniors. For every shirt sold, £5 will be donated to Mark O’Brien. 

The front of the shirt features a combination of blue and white – the colours worn in the tie by Carl Zeiss Jena – while Newport County’s traditional amber is also present.

Screen Shot 2021-03-01 at 16.19.57 Source: Newport County AFC

Newport will wear it in their next home game, which will be a League Two fixture against Bradford City that’s scheduled to take place a week from tomorrow – Tuesday, 9 March.

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“I’m really grateful for everything the club has done for me since the operation and gestures like this don’t go unnoticed,” O’Brien said.

“There have been a lot of ups and downs, but I’ve had a lot of support from the physio Tom [Gittoes], the gaffer and Wayne Hatswell, along with the club doctor Daniel Vaughan. They have all stuck by me and shown their confidence in me, so it’s brought me closer to a lot of people.

“I’ve grown up with football, so to still be in and around it has been brilliant for me. Being around training has still made me feel part of it and I don’t feel isolated.

“The support from the fans has been amazing too and they’ve always been great to me during my time at the club. I can only thank them for being so supportive and backing me through such a difficult time.”

About the author:

Paul Dollery

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