Lions honour a famous Irish footballer

Published on Tuesday 28th July, 2015 by Celtic Trust

Patrick O'Connell was the first Irishman to captain Manchester United FC and managed Real Betis FC  to the La Liga football championship in Spain in 1935 their only title.  He was captain of the Irish team who won the British Home Championship in 1913/14 Ireland's first football title. 

Patrick began his professional football career at Belfast Celtic FC and went on to manage FC Barcelona during the Spanish Civil war from 1935 to 1940. He won a host of titles at Barcelona but is famously known for taking Barcelona on a tour of Mexico & USA in 1937 after their president Josep Sunyol was assassinated by Francoists and the club faced financial ruin. The monies raised from the tour were wired back to an account in Paris and ultimately saved the club from extinction. During this period Patrick and his team could only travel at night for fear of assassination. Sadly for 56 years Patrick has been buried in an unmarked grave at St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green,London after dying destitute in London in 1959.








Unmarked grave

As a Dubliner, he was recently honoured by Dublin City Council with a plaque at the house he was reared in on Fitzroy Avenue,Drumcondra;this was the first of a new scheme.  

Plaque outside his home

Award winning Belfast artists Danny Devenny and Marty Lyons have painted a spectacular mural art piece sponsored by Crown Paints & Feile An Phobail; which will be unveiled by Lord Mayor of Belfast Mr. Arder Carson,Lisbon Lions Bertie Auld & John Clark & Brian Wilson Celtic Director among GAA & Rugby Representatives.

New mural to be unveiled

 The unveiling will take place as part of Feile An Phobail an annual Belfast Festival at 4:30pm on the Falls Road, Belfast Friday, Aug 7th. Following this Maureen O'Sullivan TD Dublin Central will chair a symposium with a host of sporting experts at the Devenish Complex,Finaghy,Belfast @ 7:30pm Aug 7th  a free event. Dr. Joe Bradley a Celtic historian from Stirling Univ. will be attending. 

Patrick on Barcelona Bench

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