Arsenal’s Most Famous Irish Players



Football fans worldwide associate Arsenal with attacking football and legendary players such as Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Tony Adams and Ian Wright.

However, nestled within the club’s rich history lies an emerald thread woven by some of the finest Republic of Ireland players to grace the pitch.

We celebrate five Irish players who left incredible legacies at Arsenal, starting with one who was the definition of a ‘midfield maestro’.

Liam Brady

Liam Brady joined Arsenal’s youth ranks in 1971 before turning professional two years later. The Dubliner possessed a wand of a left foot and otherworldly playmaking ability.

He quickly became a fan favourite, with his passing artistry illuminating Highbury with pinpoint crosses and incisive through balls.

He formed a telepathic understanding with fellow attacking talents like Frank Stapleton and Malcolm Macdonald, orchestrating countless goals with his metronome passing.

Brady’s influence transcended the pitch and he captained the team to FA Cup victory in 1979, lifting the trophy with a mischievous grin.

His departure in 1980 left a void, but his return 16 years later as Head of Youth Development and Academy Director sparked another era of success as he nurtured talents such as Ashley Cole and Cesc Fabregas.

Arsenal’s youth sides won the 1998 FA Premier Youth League, the FA Premier Academy League Under-17 title in 2000 and the FA Premier Academy League Under-19 title in 2002 under Brady.

They also lifted the 2009 and 2010 FA Premier Academy League Under-18 titles and the FA Youth Cup in 2000, 2001 and 2009. He left the club in 2014.

The Dublin magician remains a cherished icon, his name forever synonymous with Arsenal’s success through different eras.

David O’Leary

David O’Leary was a rock at the back for the Gunners and the granite foundation upon which Arsenal’s defence stood for almost two decades.

The Stoke Newington-born defender emerged through the youth ranks and established himself as an immovable object.

He was a composed defender, and his leadership inspired those around him. His 722 appearances for Arsenal is a club record that will be tough to beat.

O’Leary was born to an Arsenal-supporting father and helped the team clinch the 1979 and 1993 FA Cup titles. He also led the team to the 1989 and 1991 league titles and won the League Cup twice.

Pat Rice

Pat Rice is one of only three Arsenal players to have played in five FA Cup finals, and he won the trophy twice across his 13-year stint with the club.

He also led Arsenal to the 1980 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup final, but they lost on penalties to Valencia.

Rice was part of the team that won the league title in 1971, quietly going about his business. He was an ever-present engine in Arsenal’s full-back and midfield areas.

The Belfast-born star became a mainstay in the team for years, racking up over 500 appearances after initially arriving at the club in 1966.

The 49-cap Northern Irishman was heralded for tireless work ethic, intelligent positioning and pinpoint passing. Rice eventually left the club for Watford.

He returned to Arsenal as a youth team coach, serving as a caretaker before working as an assistant manager between 1996 and 2012.

Niall Quinn

Niall Quinn was a giant with a sniper’s touch. The Dubliner arrived in 1983 following unsuccessful trials at Fulham, debuting with a goal against Liverpool in December 1985.

His aerial prowess and deft finishing fired the Gunners to their 1987 title before he left for Manchester City for £800,000 shortly before the transfer deadline in 1990.

Quinn bagged 20 goals in 91 appearances for Arsenal before enjoying a successful career in the top flight with City and Sunderland, where he is revered by their fans.

His exploits in front of goal made him a favourite with sports bettors, who secured plenty of juicy payouts by wagering on the teams Quinn played for.

He became the scourge of some of the best betting sites in Ireland after leaving Arsenal for City before becoming a cult hero at Sunderland.

Quinn’s partnership with Kevin Phillips cost bookmakers a packet and helped cement his legacy as one of the finest strikers of his generation.

Terry Neill

Terry Neill’s legacy at Arsenal may be rooted in his managerial triumphs, but his playing career for the Gunners deserves its moment in the spotlight.

Neill’s tenacity and leadership qualities saw him rise through the ranks after joining as a teenager. He briefly held the title of youngest-ever club captain at just 20.

Although trophies eluded him as a player, Neill made over 270 appearances for the club, anchoring the defence and earning international recognition for Northern Ireland.

Neill’s eleven years at Highbury, culminating in a League Cup final appearance, laid the groundwork for his future managerial success.

He guided the club to a European final in 1980 and three consecutive FA Cup finals between 1978 and 1980, winning the FA Cup dramatically in 1979.

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