Sunday 17 November 2019

Where are they now?

Pat Nolan
Pat Nolan

Pat Nolan (former Limerick City player)

When Pat Nolan found the net against AZ Alkmaar at the Markets Field in 1982, he became the first – and still only – man to score a European goal in Limerick.

Nolan was a Limerick player for nearly all his career and was there for the club's glory days. His love for soccer started when he joined Summerville Rovers at the age of nine. However, the club wasn't in operation for long so he moved to Wembley Rovers and played with them right up the ranks to under 18 level.

In 1974, as he was coming to the end of his youths career, Limerick boss Ewan Fenton approached him and signed him for the club. It was a dream come true for the teenager and an opportunity he made the most of.

When he first arrived, Limerick were struggling. They had a lot of young players who had come from junior football and it took them a while to get it together. They got to a Cup final in 1977 but were beaten by Dundalk. However, the nucleus of the team learned a lot from that journey and when Eoin Hand took over in 1979, they were ready to go a step further.

Almost immediately, they achieved success, winning the League and Cup and also qualifying for European football.

"In those days in the Markets Field you had thousands of people coming to watch," remembers Nolan. "You didn't have the competition of English football on the BBC. People came from all around the county to support Limerick. That was their soccer fix on a Sunday."

When Nolan finally finished with Limerick after over ten years, he spent six months with Waterford and then got into coaching. He did a long stint with Wembley Rovers and he also did a spell with Tommy Lynch and Limerick in the First Division.

In 1982, Manchester United came to Limerick for his testimonial and it was a special occasion for Nolan. Eoin Hand was still in charge at that stage and he made a few calls to set it up.

Nolan was also capped for Ireland at under 21 level.

These days, he works as a rep for John Player in Limerick and has done so for almost 30 years.

He still follows his old club and thinks they can get back to winning ways; however, he feels they need to get the young players through and have a squad mainly made up of local talent and not outside imports.

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