Sunday 4 December 2016

Where are they now?

Published 29/05/2011 | 05:00

Al Finucane

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(Former League of Ireland

footballer)

In 28 seasons playing League of Ireland football, Al Finucane was never sent off. In fact, in all that time he received just three yellow cards. On top of that he holds the record for the most appearances in the league.

A Limerick native, he started off his career playing for Limerick City in 1961 as a 17-year-old against Shamrock Rovers in Milltown. He spent nine seasons at the Markets Field before moving to Waterford City for five seasons and back to Limerick again. From there he returned to Kilcohan Park and then finished out his career with Newcastle West.

During that time he won three FAI Cup winners medals, two with Limerick and one with Waterford. He played for Ireland on 11 occasions and was captain in 1971 away to Austria.

"Everybody who puts on a football boot when they are a kid has ambitions to play for his or her country," says Finucane. "You can't go much higher than that and it's marvellous to have fulfilled my dreams."

And Finucane's achievements don't stop there. In 1965, he played for Limerick against CSKA Sofia in Europe and 21 years later he played for Waterford against Bordeaux. He was almost 44 years of age when he played against Bordeaux making him the oldest player to ever have played in a European club competition.

Apart from his appearances for Ireland, his greatest football memories are his days playing with Bobby Charlton. After Charlton finished managing Preston, the then chairman of Waterford, Joe Delaney, brought him over to play a few games for the club.

"Charlton wanted to extend his career for a another while so he came over to play with us. He was a big hero of mine and to play on the same team as him was amazing. He was about 35 or 36 at that time but he was still a great player."

Finucane spent years working as a tailor's cutter and he also ran his own shop. He then went into sales, working for Kerry Co-Op and Estuary Oil. He retired five years ago and now spends his time playing golf and watching sport. He has been a devout Liverpool fan for most of his life.

"In 1963 when Liverpool were promoted from the second division into the first division they did a tour of Ireland and while I was playing for Limerick I played against them in the Markets Field and I've been a Liverpool supporter ever since."

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