Former Northern Ireland and Manchester United footballer Philip Mulryne ordained a deacon
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Former Northern Ireland and Manchester United footballer Philip Mulryne ordained a deacon

A FORMER international footballer who once played for the Red Devils of Manchester United has been ordained a Roman Catholic deacon.

Belfast native Philip Mulryne became a deacon on Saturday at a service in St Saviour’s Priory, Dublin.

The ex-midfielder’s family and friends were in attendance to see Mulryne become Brother Mulryne after being ordained by the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin.

Mulryne won 27 caps for Northern Ireland during a 12-year professional career, which took the him all the way from Manchester United to non-league footballer.

The 38-year old played at Manchester United at the same time as legendary talents such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and David Beckham, before joining Norwich City in 1999 after a handful of first-team appearances.

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He also spent spells at Cardiff City and Ipswich before retiring in 2008 after failing to make an appearance for King’s Lynn.

Mulryne then became involved in charitable work and was invited into the priesthood on the basis of his work.

He began studying for priesthood in 2009, only a year after hanging up his soccer boots.

Perhaps surprisingly, Brother Mulryne is not the first former footballer to swap the stadium for the cathedral.

Ex-Chelsea midfielder Gavin Peacock trained as a preacher in Canada after his retirement in 2002, and even presented Songs of Praise.

Despite his newfound position in the Church, Mulryne’s life hasn’t been short of controversy.

In 2005, he was sent home from a Northern Ireland training camp after breaking curfew to go out drinking with a teammate.

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Just last month, it was reported that Mulryne had been declared bankrupt in a Northern Irish court. The order was sought by Mulryne himself and was described as “self adjudication”.

After their disappointing draw with Burnley at the weekend, fans of the struggling Red Devils will be hoping that one ex-player keeps them in their prayers.