'The goal is Christ' - ex-Manchester United star enters priesthood
A former Manchester United player who once lined up alongside David Beckham has entered the priesthood.
Philip Mulryne (39) was ordained by Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, in St Saviour's Church, Dominick Street, Dublin, at the weekend.
Fr Mulryne will be assigned to the Dominican priory at Newbridge, Co Kildare, this summer to join the chaplaincy team at Newbridge College.
The Archbishop travelled from Rome to deliver his homily, and addressed the former player, who took to the field alongside some of the biggest names in football at Manchester United.
"After mature deliberation, dear Brother Philip, you have shown your readiness to embrace the service to which you have been called," he said.
"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."
When he was 14 years old, Belfast-born Fr Mulryne was spotted by a Manchester United scout.
He made a good impression at the following trial and eventually joined the youth squad, before signing a four-year professional contract after finishing secondary school in 1994.
Joining the first team squad alongside the likes of big name international players David Beckham, Andy Cole and Paul Scholes, he was unable to secure a regular role in Alex Ferguson's side.
He left Manchester to continue his career with Norwich City, where he played 135 times in a six-year spell and reportedly earned up to €600,000 a year.
He then enjoyed short spells with Cardiff City and Leyton Orient.
He played 27 times for Northern Ireland and scored three goals.
In 2005, he was ejected from the squad for a breach of discipline.
He was also suspended from two World Cup qualifying games.
After officially retiring from football in 2009, Fr Mulryne studied philosophy and theology, before entering the Dominican novitiate house in Cork.