Dublin City Council honours Patrick O’Connell, Legendary Footballer and Manager

On Friday 5th June at 11:30am Dublin City Council as part of their new Commemorative Plaque Scheme will honour legendary footballer and manager Patrick O’Connell. Patrick’s grandson Mike O’Connell and Maureen O'Sullivan TD will unveil a plaque where Patrick lived at 87 Fitzroy Avenue, Drumcondra, Dublin 3.

Patrick was born in Dublin in 1887. He started his professional career with Belfast Celtic FC in 1908 and moved to Sheffield Wednesday FC in 1909.

During the British Home Championship of 1913/14 he captained the first Ireland team to beat England on English soil and also led the Irish to victory over Wales in Wrexham. In the final game against Scotland at Windsor Park, Patrick played the entire second half with a broken arm as Ireland clinched their first ever football title.

Patrick moved from Sheffield Wednesday to Hull City where he spent two years before joining Manchester United in 1915 for a fee of over £1,000. He became the first Irishman to captain Manchester United a century ago.

In 1921 Patrick became manager of Ashington FC, a club made famous by the Charlton brothers Bobby and Jack. Soon afterwards he moved to Spain to become the manager of Racing Santander where he went on to lead them to five regional titles between 1922 and 1929. He was involved in the formation of La Liga, the Spanish Football League Championship in 1928.

It was 1931 when Patrick became manager of Real Betis.  One season later they became second division champions. In 1935 he led Real Betis to their one and only La Liga title in front of a capacity crowd of 7,000.

Following this win Barcelona FC invited Patrick to become the manager and in his first season managing the club he led them to win the Catalan Championship and they were runners up to Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup.

During the Spanish Civil War, when Barcelona FC was on the brink of bankruptcy, a Catalan businessman who had emigrated to Mexico asked the club to tour the country in 1937. Patrick rounded up the players and staff and sailed to Mexico. They played six matches before carrying on to New York for four more exhibition games. The tour cost the team most of their players, as only four travelled with O’Connell back to Barcelona, the rest either seeking asylum in Mexico or jumping out in France on the way back. The money made from the expedition saved Barcelona and although Patrick returned to Ireland shortly afterwards he had ensured Barcelona’s future and his own enduring memory.

Sadly, despite all of Patrick's success, he died destitute in 1959 and is buried in an unmarked grave at St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green, London.

A Memorial Fund has been set up by friends to raise funds to restore Patrick's grave.

ENDS

For further information contact:

 https://twitter.com/DubCityCouncil       www.facebook.com/DublinCityCouncil

Memorial fund contact:

Fergus Dowd - Email:fergus.dowd@aol.com

Alan McLean - Email: alan_mclean@btinternet.com  T: +44 (0)751 851 7628

Notes to the Editor

Commemorative Plaques

A Commemorative Naming Committee was established by Dublin City Council to consider and recommend the selection of individuals or events which will be commemorated through the erection of monuments / plaques.

These Commemorative Plaques provide the City with an opportunity to honour and remember a significant person, group or event and to celebrate the uniqueness of the City and create a sense of place which is identified as being of great importance to citizens and visitors. This plaque is the first in the scheme and honours Patrick's amazing achievements in the world of football.

Memorial Fund

The Memorial Fund are raising funds to restore Patrick's grave befitting his football achievements - full details www.pocfund.com

The process will be sponsored by Walshe Land Solutions UK. The project has been endorsed by FC Barcelona, The FAI, The IFA, Real Betis FC, Sheffield Wednesday FC, Belfast Celtic Society, Paddy Crerand Man United Ambassador, Mike Summerbee Man City FPA, PFA England, National Football Museum England, Glenda Jackson Labour MP North London, David  Blunkett Labour MP Sheffield.

Attendees

  • Bertie Auld, Celtic and 1967 European Cup Winner (Lisbon Lion)
  • John Clarke, Celtic and 1967 European Cup Winner (Lisbon Lion)
  • Martin Buchan, PFA and Former Man Utd & Scotland Captain
  • Jim Magilton, QPR & Northern Ireland
  • Jimmy Nicholl, Man Utd & Northern Ireland
  • Steve Archibald Former Spurs and Barcelona Player
  • Mark Metcalf, Football Historian
  • Joe Connolly, Former Galway Captain
  • Joe Kernan, Ireland GAA Manager and former Armagh Manager
  • John Maughan, Former Mayo Manager
  • Ollie Campbell, Ireland & British & Irish Lion
  • Tony Ward, Ireland & British & Irish Lion
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