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Former Ireland international players Paul McGrath and Anne O’Brien have been inducted into the FAI hall of fame.
McGrath and the family of the late Anne O’Brien were invited to FAI headquarters in Abbotstown. Incidentally, this is the second year in a row that a male and female have been a recipient of the honour. The hall of fame award was introduced in 1997 with Kevin Flanagan picking up the award.Other who have been awarded the award in the past include include Richard Dunne, Robbie Keane, Ronnie Whelan, Tony Cascarino to name but a few.
McGrath is massively popular among the Irish supporters. He made 83 appearances for the Boys in Green, and featured at two World Cup in 1990 and 1994. Interim Deputy Chief Executive of the FAI, Niall Quinn said, “I have to admit that I was a little bit starstruck when I met Paul at Abbotstown to present him with the Hall of Fame award – and I played with him! That just tells you the stature of the man”.
He continued, “The word ‘legend’ can be used very freely these days, but Paul is just that – a legend of world football, and not just an Irish hero”. “Paul is a very humble man to this day and to meet him again was such a pleasure. He is one of the greatest players we have ever seen and his arrival into the FAI’s Hall of Fame is so well deserved.”
Anne O’Brien passed away in 2016 but she done so much for women’s football in Ireland. She played at club level in Italy and France. She won 6 Italian league titles and 2 Italian Cups. O’Brien would be related to Johnny Giles and Jimmy Conway so football was always going to be her go. Paul O’Brien was on hand to pick up the hall of fame award in honour of his sister. He said, “This is a fantastic honour to recognise what Anne did. She would have been delighted with this and our family are very appreciative for it. We’d like to thank the FAI for remembering Anne and what she did in her footballing career.”