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Saturday 23 August 2014

Irish football mourning death of Con Martin

Published 25/02/2013 | 04:00

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FOOTBALL legend Con Martin has died at the age of 89.

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Martin, born in Rush, Co Dublin, on March 20, 1923, was one of the great Irish players of the last century and was best known for scoring from the penalty spot in Ireland's 2-0 win over England at Goodison Park in September 1949 – England's first home defeat to a non-UK side.

He won 30 caps for the Republic of Ireland and six for Northern Ireland in the days when a player could line out for both associations.

Although best known as a centre-half, he made his international debut for the Republic of Ireland as a goalkeeper and played close to a complete season between the posts for Aston Villa.

He helped Drumcondra to FAI Cup success in 1946 and then played for Glentoran before signing for Leeds United at the end of that year, having turned down the chance to join Manchester United, who wanted him only as a goalkeeper.

Martin then moved to Aston a £10,000 move to Aston Villa, where he made over 200 appearances – 27 of them as a stand-in goalkeeper.

In 1956, he signed for Waterford United and later had a spell as player-manager of Dundalk.

Martin played Gaelic football with St Maur's in Rush and St Mary's Saggart before going on to represent Dublin and featuring in their Leinster Championship win in 1941.

However, he was expelled from the GAA for breaching 'The Ban' on playing foreign sports when officials learned that he had also been lining out with Drumcondra.

Martin was heavily involved in golf and captained both Rush Golf Club and Fingal Golf Society and he also played cricket for Rush.

Martin's son Mick went on to become a senior international footballer and his grandson Owen Garvan has been capped at U-21 international level.

He is survived by wife Vera, sons Mick, Con Jnr, Edward and Phillip and daughters Mary, Elizabeth and Susan, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Irish Independent

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