Plaque marks Dublin home of football legend Patrick O'Connell

Plaque marks Dublin home of football legend Patrick O'Connell

A PLAQUE has been unveiled in Dublin marking the former home of football legend Patrick O’Connell.

The honour was made under Dublin City Council’s new Commemorative Plaque Scheme, and unveiled at 87 Fitzroy Avenue in Drumcondra – where the footballer lived – on Friday, June 5.

Despite an impressive footballing career, which saw Dublin-born O’Connell line out for, captain and manage Manchester United, he died destitute in 1959 and received a pauper’s burial at St Mary’s Cemetery in London’s Kensal Green.

This year a team of campaigners launched the Patrick O’Connell Memorial Fund to raise £5,000 to clean, maintain and place a “proper memorial” at the site.

Members of the group attended the Dublin event over the weekend, where Patrick’s grandson Mike O’Connell unveiled the plaque with local TD Maureen O’Sullivan.

Born in 1887, the Irishman’s sporting career began with a position at Belfast Celtic before he was transferred to Sheffield Wednesday for the princely sum of £50.

He went on to play for Hull City before taking a starring role at Manchester United – where he became the team’s first Irish captain in 1915.

Following his time at Manchester United the Dublin footballer made his way to Spain, where he managed a number of clubs but is best remembered for leading Real Betis to their first and only La Liga title in 1935.

He is also credited with saving FC Barcelona from General Franco during the Spanish Civil War, when he was in charge at the Camp Nou.

Former footballers from clubs O’Connell played for throughout his illustrious career were in attendance on Friday – including Celtic players Bertie Auld and John Clarke and Martin Buchan, former Manchester United and Scotland captain.

Ollie Campbell and Tony Ward, who both played rugby for Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, also attended the unveiling.