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'You'd just kick a ball around Cabra with your pals until the lights went out and you had to go home'

Dublin soccer hotspots: Part 3

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Liam Whelan in action for Manchester United in 1957   Photo: Getty

Liam Whelan in action for Manchester United in 1957 Photo: Getty

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Dubliner Liam Whelan, pictured as a Manchester United first team player. Photo: PA

Dubliner Liam Whelan, pictured as a Manchester United first team player. Photo: PA

Bohemians captain Owen Heary lifts the Eircom League Premier Division trophy alongside Glenn Cronin, left, and Brian Murphy, right. Photo: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

Bohemians captain Owen Heary lifts the Eircom League Premier Division trophy alongside Glenn Cronin, left, and Brian Murphy, right. Photo: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

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Liam Whelan in action for Manchester United in 1957 Photo: Getty

It should only take five minutes to walk from the house on St Attracta Road, across the bridge at Connaught Street and down to Dalymount Park, a walk that Liam Whelan would have done many times, boy and man.

When you are a national as well as a local celebrity, as Whelan was, the walk took a lot longer, with friends, fans and well-wishers all looking for a quick chat as he made that stroll from the Whelan homestead to Dalymount on September day in 1957.

A crowd of 45,000 watched Cabra lad Whelan play for Manchester United in their 6-0 win over Shamrock Rovers in the first round of the European Cup. Less than five months later, Whelan would lose his life on the runway at Munich airport.