Saturday 20 December 2014

Footballer and artist may share same father

Published 24/03/2013 | 05:00

SPOT THE SIMILARITY: Paul McGrath and Kevin Sharkey: born 18 months apart

'Chances of McGrath not being my brother are slim'

One of Ireland's most well-known artists Kevin Sharkey believes that he and Irish football legend Paul McGrath may well share the same father.

"I heard Paul recently say that he never knew his father – but he knew that he was a student from Lagos in 1960 at the College of Surgeons in Dublin. My father was the only Nigerian student from Lagos at the College of Surgeons in 1960," says Kevin, who was born in Dublin on June 3, 1961, to a single mother after she had a one-night stand with a Nigerian who she met at a dance in Rathmines. Kevin was subsequently put up for adoption by the nuns and ended up with a family in Killybegs.

McGrath, who went on to play for Manchester United and Ireland, was born on December 4, 1959, in London to an Irish mother and a Nigerian father. He vanished out of Paul's life soon after. Paul was put in a foster home and then in various orphanages in Dublin.

"I found an address for Paul and I wrote to him. I explained to him that I think our father may be the same man," Kevin, whose work is collected by, among others, Michael D Higgins, told me yesterday. "I said to him that I had some more information about him if you are interested. And our physical similarities are striking. And the age difference too."

"Obviously, we haven't had DNA tests done but, from what I believe – with how we look so alike and sound so alike, and the fact there was only one student from Lagos at the College of Surgeons in Dublin in 1960 – the chances of Paul McGrath not being my big brother are slim in my opinion. I've never met him but I'd love to meet him and have a chat with him."

• You can hear Kevin Sharkey talking about his possible brother on Radio Nova tonight at 7pm

Irish Independent

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