Pies Classics: St Patrick’s Day Special – 10 English-Born Footballers Who Played For Republic Of Ireland

Chris Wright

17th, March 2017


As a doff of the wax cap to it being St Patrick’s Day and all, Pies thought we’d have a little look-see at those gentlemen who, despite being born upon the sceptred shores of Albion, decided to represent the Republic of Ireland with pride at international level much like old Saint Paddy himself.

Without further ado, let’s have a gander…

1. Shay Brennan

Born in Manchester in 1937, Brennan was the very first second generation player to play for Ireland making his debut in a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Spain in May of 1965.

The Manchester United full-back went on to win a total of 19 caps for his adopted country.

2. Andy Townsend

In the 1990s, Ireland manager Jack Charlton publicly eschewed any player playing in the League of Ireland in favour of fully utilising the ‘Granny Rule’ to the Nth degree meaning the national side was suddenly awash with players sourced from outside Eire with the appropriate ancestry.

A perfectly passable midfielder in his day, Townsend proved to be one of Charlton’s most successful Anglo-Irish imports, going on to captain the Republic at the 1994 World Cup despite both looking and sounding like owned a market stall in the East End.

3. Tony Cascarino

A Cockney striker with an Italian name, Cascarino originally qualified to play for the Republic of Ireland through his maternal grandmother.

However, as revealed in his autobiography (released in 2000), his mother confessed to him in 1996 that he’d actually been adopted as a baby and therefore had no certain genetic ties to Ireland at all.

Despite knowing what he knew, Cascarino continued playing for Ireland for three more years, bowing out in 1999 with 19 goals in 88 appearances all of which are more than likely to be completely invalid.

4. Mark Lawrenson

Famously made his debut as an 18-year-old in 1977 without manager Johnny Giles having