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where are they now?

Paul Osam

(Former St Patrick's

Athletic player)

DESCRIBED by many astute League of Ireland followers as one of the greatest players ever to play in the league, Paul Osam undoubtedly left his mark on domestic football.

He began his career in 1988 when he was removed from the obscurity of Junior League football with South Dublin side Mount Merrion. From there he was parachuted into Brian Kerr's St Patrick's Athletic side that would go on to win the League of Ireland title the following year.

Despite the Inchicore outfit being practically bankrupt when they won the league in 1989/'90, Osam showed his loyalty to the club by staying around for three more turbulent years.

While there he learned his trade under the guidance of Kerr, a master of detail and a man whose reputation would later be forged as a renowned developer of juvenile talent.

"There's no doubting the fact Brian was a big influence on my career. I played under him for six seasons in total and we had a close bond between us," says Osam. "He introduced me to the game and I learnt a lot from him. He was a very knowledgeable football man and it rubbed off on us all."

In 1993, he signed for Dublin rivals Shamrock Rovers before returning to his spiritual home in Inchicore two years later. His influence was felt immediately at the RDS, Rovers' home at the time, as the Hoops won their first league title in a decade, with Osam scoring two goals in 21 appearances.

He holds a UEFA 'A' coaching licence and remains one of the most decorated players to have graced the League of Ireland. 'Oso' won six league championships and two league cups in an illustrious playing career. However, the record books don't show Osam's sixth league title. It came in that most controversial year, 2002, when St Pat's finished five points clear of Shelbourne but had their title revoked after issues of player registration went from the FAI to the High Court.

Osam retired from playing at the end of the 2004 League of Ireland season at the age of 36. He remained involved in St Pat's in a coaching role with the club's under 21 team before a spell as assistant manager at Bray Wanderers.

In May 2011, he was appointed as Football Development Officer for Westmeath.

Sunday Indo Sport