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Thursday 18 January 2018

FAI and IRFU tributes to star of both Irish teams

Karl Mullen and Michael O'Flanagan. Jury's Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE...1RP
Karl Mullen and Michael O'Flanagan. Jury's Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE...1RP
Emma Jane Hade

Emma Jane Hade

There has been an outpouring of tributes to the late Michael O'Flanagan, a former Irish soccer and rugby international.

The sports star, fondly known as 'Mick', was one of the last surviving members of Ireland's 1948 Grand Slam-winning squad.

The Dublin native passed away in St Vincent's Hospital on Saturday, just two weeks before his 93rd birthday.

Mr O'Flanagan and his late brother Kevin have been described as "two of the most gifted siblings in Irish sport" as they were the only brothers to have represented Ireland at international level in both rugby and soccer.

Michael was a talented soccer player and held a prominent role with Dublin club Bohemians, playing in three FAI cup finals.

After being educated at the Christian Brothers School on Synge Street, Mr O'Flanagan went on to play rugby with Lansdowne in 1943, where he was part of the 1949 Leinster Senior Cup-winning squad.

The former winger and centre earned his Irish cap when the international squad beat Scotland 6-0 during a Five Nations clash at Lansdowne Road, leading them to their historic Grand Slam victory.

He won his only Irish soccer cap against England in 1946 and shared the field in Dalymount Park with his brother Kevin that night. He also went on to play for Home Farm in Drumcondra and Belfast Celtic.

FAI chief executive John Delaney led the tributes to the former publican - who ran 'The Confession Box' on Marlborough Street - and described him as a soccer "stalwart".

He said: "The O'Flanagans contributed a lot to Irish football and rugby and Mick was a stalwart for Bohemians in the League of Ireland.

"We are saddened at his passing but he and his brother Kevin have set a unique world record that will probably never be beaten, given the modern-day demands of international football and rugby."

The FAI is planning a special tribute to Michael O'Flanagan's life and sporting achievements in the Aviva Stadium when Ireland take on Germany next month.

The IRFU has also paid tribute to the "all-round great athlete".

"The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the Irish Rugby Football Union are with Michael's family and friends at this sad time," it added.

He is survived by his wife Carine and brother Charlie.

The funeral Mass will take place at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook at 10am today.

Irish Independent

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