Former €600k-a-year Manchester United player ordained as priest

Philip Mulryne swapped his kit for a cassock

Priests line-up to touch the head of Father Philip Mulryne during his ordination ceremony. Ordination of Reverend Brother Philip Mulryne. St. Saviour's Church, Dominick Street, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Cillian Sherlock

Former Manchester United player and Northern Ireland international Philip Mulryne has been ordained a priest.

Father Mulryne (39) was ordained by Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, O.P. in St. Saviour’s Church, Dominick Street, Dublin at a ceremony on Saturday morning attended by family and friends.

Originally from Belfast, Father Mulryne will be assigned to the Dominican priory at Newbridge, Co. Kildare later this summer to join the chaplaincy team at Newbridge College.

Assistant Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia travelled from Rome to deliver his homily.

"'You did not choose me, but I chose you.' These words express our faith, dear brothers and sisters: that this friar – our brother, and your beloved son and friend – has been chosen by Jesus Christ to carry out publicly in His name, and on behalf of the human race, a priestly office in the Church," he said.

"After mature deliberation, dear Brother Philip, you have shown your readiness to embrace the service to which you have been called.

Ex-Northern Ireland international Philip Mulryne has joined the priesthood. Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

"Whatever gain you had, you have counted as loss.  In a real sense, your experience as an athlete has helped to prepare you for this moment: you have known the meaning of working hard to attain a goal, and now the goal is Christ," he added.

When he was 14 years old, Father Mulryne was spotted by a Manchester United scout while playing for his parish soccer team Saint Oliver Plunkett.

Impressing at his following trial for the club, he eventually joined the youth squad of the club before ultimately signing a four-year professional contract after finishing secondary school in 1994.

Joining the team alongside David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Andy Cole he was, however, unable to secure regular placements in Alex Ferguson's side.

He left Manchester to continue his career in Norwich City where he was reportedly earning up to €600,000 a year playing a total of 135 matches for the club. Following that, the midfielder enjoyed short spells at Cardiff City and Leyton Orient.

He played 27 times for Northern Ireland and scored three goals. In 2005, he was ejected from this squad for a breach of discipline and suspended from two World Cup qualifying games. Mulryne also previously dated model Nicola Chapman.

Phil Mulryne in action for Norwich City in 2002

After retiring from football in 2009, he decided to move towards swapping his kit for a cassock.

Fr Mulryne studied philosophy and theology before entering the Dominican novitiate house in Cork.

He became a full member of the Order of Preachers when he made a profession of his solemn vows to become a deacon in October of last year.

That ordination swiftly followed a declaration of bankruptcy by Belfast City high court, which Mulryne sought himself.