GAA Football

Jennings, Armstrong, Martin O'Neill, Michael O'Neill, Lennon... The Northern Ireland internationals GAA Allstars select

Pat Jennings (pictured with manager Billy Bingham) played in the 1982 and 1986 World Cups
Andy Watters

Northern Ireland GAA XV

1982 World Cup stars like Pat Jennings, Gerry Armstrong and Martin O’Neill all benefitted from backgrounds in Gaelic Football after they made the switch to soccer in England.

Armstrong, scorer of that famous winner against hosts Spain in ’82, played senior football for Antrim and among the highlights of his time in the Saffron jersey was a superb goal against Dublin at Croke Park.

Newry native Jennings – a goalkeeping legend with Spurs and Arsenal who also played in the 1986 World Cup - would undoubtedly have gone on to play for Down in midfield and two-time European Cup winner and former Celtic and Republic of Ireland manager O’Neill was the lynchpin of the St Malachy’s College and Derry minor sides he played in.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon played in the 1989 Ulster minor final for Armagh alongside current manager Kieran McGeeney and Niall McGinn, a goalscorer for the North at Euro 2016, won the 2004 All-Ireland title with Tyrone.

Meanwhile, former Norwich City star Paul McVeigh returned to his GAA roots last year as part of the Lamh Dhearg squad that reached the Antrim championship final while Glenn’s Shay McCartan could yet go on to play for his county after being capped by the North.

1 Michael McGovern (Coa, Fermanagh)

2 Conor McLaughlin (St John’s, Belfast)

3 Pat McGibbon (S Peter’s, Lurgan)

4 Chris Baird (St Mary’s Rasharkin)

5 Fr Phil Mulryne (Lamh Dhearg)

6 Neil Lennon (Clan na Gael, Lurgan and Armagh minors)

7 Paul McVeigh (Lamh Dhearg, Belfast)

8 Jim Magilton (Sarsfield’s, Belfast)

9 Pat Jennings (Newry Shamrocks)

10 Martin O’Neill (Kilrea and Derry minors)

11 Gerry Armstrong (St John’s, Belfast and Antrim)

12 Michael O’Neill (All Saints, Ballymena and Antrim minors)

13 Gerard McMahon (Eire Og, Craigavon)

14 Niall McGinn (Donaghmore and Tyrone minors)

15 Shay McCartan (Glenn and Down minors)

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