Belfast Telegraph

Sammy McIlroy will be home for his big birthday

By Noel McAdam

Former Northern Ireland World Cup captain Sammy McIlroy is to spend his 60th birthday where else, but on the pitch.

And the Belfast-born legend will be playing the game he loves here in Northern Ireland.

McIlroy will form part of a Manchester United Legends team who will take on Mid-Ulster League side Moneyslane, near Banbridge, tomorrow afternoon.

And former Irish League player and manager Liam Beckett is expected to lead players and spectators in a rendition of 'Happy Birthday' before the match at the village's new Jubilee Park.

The event will also be the official opening of the new ground.

Born in Belfast, McIlroy was just 14 when he was signed up by Sir Matt Busby – the last of the so-called 'Busby Babes' – and made more than 400 appearances for the Old Trafford outfit.

Moneyslane club secretary Ian Johnstone said: "We can't wait to hear Liam Beckett leading the Jubilee Park choir in a mighty chorus of Happy Birthday before kick off.

"This game will officially open our Jubilee Park complex.

"Other players confirmed include Ray Wilkins, David May, Frank Stapleton, Clayton Blackmore, Michael Mols, Keith Gillespie, David Healy and Louis Saha – all massive Legends in their own right.

"Another huge name will be publicly confirmed shortly.

"Our ground is one of the most scenic in Northern Ireland with spectacular views of the Mourne mountains and the beautiful south-Down area.

"We plan to have the official opening prior to kick off and the capacity will be 2,200 people.

"We are planning to make this event a most memorable occasion for the whole community."

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