Lives Remembered

Belfast Celtic player also made history with Ireland

The Belfast Celtic team which toured the USA in 1949, with Mick O'Flanagan sixth from left in the back row

AS well as being one half of the only set of brothers to play soccer and rugby for Ireland, Mick O'Flanagan lined out in one of the most famous games in Belfast Celtic's illustrious history.

The Dubliner was so impressive in scoring against Celtic in a cup final in 1949 that he was invited to join the team when they travelled to America that year.

The centre forward scored twice on the club's valedictory tour following its exit from the Irish league, and played on the legendary team that defeated Scotland 2-0 at Triborough Stadium in New York.

The victory over the all-conquering 'wonder team' made headlines around the world. Scotland would never play a club side again.

A year earlier, Flanagan had also been part of history when he played for Ireland during their Grand Slam-winning campaign with the oval ball.

His single international cap also came against Scotland in a 6-0 victory, with his brother Kevin capped the same year.

The two Bohemians forwards had previously also featured in a famous soccer match for Ireland.

Mick had been working in his Dublin pub on September 30 1946 when he received a phone call at 2.30pm asking him to take the place of an injured player. Ireland were due to play the mightly England at 5.30pm at Dalymount Park and customers were quickly ushered to the door.

The team performed admirably before a crowd of 42,000 and only lost to a late English goal from the legendary Tom Finney.

After his exploits with Belfast Celtic, Mick O’Flanagan was offered a lucrative contract to join Glasgow Celtic but declined, remaining true to the amatuer ethos with which he had played the game.

He returned to Belfast in 1989 for a reunion dinner for the club.

He died aged 92 on September 13 is survived by his wife Carine and brother Charlie, who also played for Bohemians.

He was predeceased by brothers Kevin and Sean and his sister Trixie.

Lives Remembered