Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Manchester United's 10 best players ever to hail from Ireland

Published 25/08/2016

10.
Name: Kevin Moran
DOB: 29/04/56
Born: Dublin
Position: Central defender
Club career: 228 league appearances
Goals: 21
After being scouted playing for Irish College Pegasus, Moran signed for Manchester United in 1978. Despite not being the tallest of defenders, Kevin was best known for his strong aerial ability and was a threat in the box from corners and set pieces. Retiring from football Moran formed his own football agency Proactive Sports Management. He won an All-Ireland Gaelic Football medal with Dublin before joining United.
10. Name: Kevin Moran DOB: 29/04/56 Born: Dublin Position: Central defender Club career: 228 league appearances Goals: 21 After being scouted playing for Irish College Pegasus, Moran signed for Manchester United in 1978. Despite not being the tallest of defenders, Kevin was best known for his strong aerial ability and was a threat in the box from corners and set pieces. Retiring from football Moran formed his own football agency Proactive Sports Management. He won an All-Ireland Gaelic Football medal with Dublin before joining United.
9. Name: Jimmy Nicholl DOB: 28/02/56 Born: Ontario, Canada Position: Right back Club Career: 248 apps Goals: 6 Born in Canada but raised in Rathcoole, Nicholl was given an apprenticeship after a few football trials. He started his career playing for Manchester United as a junior with his senior career starting in 1974. After retiring from football he moved into coaching and management.
8. Name: Sammy McIlroy DOB: 02/08/54 Born: Belfast, Northern Ireland Position: Midfielder Club Career: 419 apps Goals: 71 McIlroy joined Manchester United in 1969, like some many others from George Best to Norman Whiteside, discovered by legendary scout Bob Bishop. He made his first team debut in 1971 and went on to captain club and country. Retiring from football in 1993, Sammy became a managerial coach, including a stint and Northern Ireland boss.
7. Name: Johnny Carey DOB: 23/02/19 Born: Dublin Position: Right back Club Career: 416 apps Goals: 64 Carey played two months in League of Ireland Football where he was spotted by a Dublin based Manchester United scout. During his first season he helped United gain promotion to the First Division. Johnny also gained the distinction of being the first player from Ireland to win a major trophy with Manchester United.
6. Name: Liam Whelan DOB: 01/04/35 Born: Dublin Position: Inside forward Club Career: 98 apps Goals: 52 One of the legendary Busby Babes, Whelan was United's top goal scorer in the 1956-57 season. Liam was one of the eight Manchester United players who died in the Munich air disaster in 1958 aged only 22.
5. Name: Paul McGrath DOB: 04/12/59 Born: Ealing, England Position: Centre back Club Career: 194 apps Goals: 16 Raised in Inchicore, Dublin, McGrath joined Manchester United in 1982. Knee injuries and physical problems dogged his career but he is still remembered as a Manchester United and Republic of Ireland legend.
4. Name: Norman Whiteside DOB: 07/05/65 Born: Belfast, Northern Ireland Position: Midfielder Club Career: 274 apps Goals: 67 Whiteside signed for Manchester United as a schoolboy at the age of 16 in 1978. A combative midfielder, he scored his first goal for the team in only his second match and famously netted a brilliant winner in the 1983 FA Cup final against Everton. He remains the youngest player to have appeared in a World Cup finals with Northern Ireland at Spain '82. A chronic knee injury ended his career at just 28 following a move to Everton. Norman is still revered among the clubs fans.
3. Name: Harry Gregg DOB: 27/10/32 Born: Magherafelt, Northern Ireland Position: Goalkeeper Club Career: 247 Gregg is rated by many as the greatest goalkeeper Manchester United ever had. Harry transferred from Doncaster Rovers in 1957 to join United. A hero of the 1958 Munich air disaster, he bravely returned to the burning plane twice to rescue team-mates and starred for Northern Ireland at that year's World Cup in Sweden. When his playing career ended Gregg took up managerial roles and became a goalkeeping coach. Now living in retirement on Northern Ireland's north coast where he previously ran a hotel.
2. Name: Roy Keane DOB: 10/08/71 Born: Cork Position: Midfielder Club Career: 480 apps Goals: 51 Keane began his Old Trafford career in 1993, scoring two goals on his home debut following a move from Nottingham Forest. He took over captaincy at the start of the 1997/98 campaign and went on to lead the team to numerous league and cup wins. He is by the fans as the club's greatest ever on-field leader. Roy is currently assistant manager to the Republic of Ireland football team.
1. Name: George Best DOB: 22/05/46 Born: Belfast Position: Winger Club Career: 367 apps Goals: 137 Best is arguably not just Manchester United and Northern Ireland's greatest player but by common consent the best the world has ever seen. Discovered at the age of 15 in Belfast by scout Bob Bishop, by the age of 19 he had become football's first superstar player. His greatest United success came in the 1968 European Cup final win against Benfica. Sadly a life blighted by alcohol problems ended aged just 59 in 2005.

Manchester United have been fortunate enough to have some of Ireland's greatest players ever produced - from north and south of the border.

Players from Northern Ireland and the Republic have featured in almost all of United's triumphs throughout the years. 

Here we look at the top 10 ever to grace the turf at Old Trafford.

Online Editors

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph