Well-loved member of footballing dynasty managed to secure only FAI Cup medal in family, writes Sean Ryan
FRANK BRADY, who died last Wednesday after a long battle with cancer, was a member of a renowned Dublin football family, whose links in the game stretch from the first full international played by the FAI in 1926 to the present international team, of which his brother, Liam, is assistant to manager Giovanni Trapattoni.
Frank inherited the name of his great-uncle who played in the 1926 game against Italy in Turin, and who then captained the Irish team in the return game in Lansdowne Road in 1927.
With such a strong pedigree, there was no escape from football in the Brady household, and Frank was one of four brothers to play the game at senior level.
Older brothers Ray and Pat played in the League of Ireland with Transport and in the English League with Millwall and Queen's Park Rangers, while younger brother Liam was undoubtedly the most gifted of the family and lined out with Arsenal, Juventus, Sampdoria, Inter Milan, Ascoli and West Ham United.
While Frank never achieved the lofty heights of Liam and Ray, who were capped by the Republic of Ireland, he did manage to secure the only FAI Cup medal in the family, when helping Shamrock Rovers triumph over Waterford 3-0 in 1968 before a crowd of almost 40,000, the second-highest attendance for a final. The interest in the game was phenomenal because Rovers were bidding to equal a record set by their predecessors in the Thirties by completing a Cup five-in-a-row, while Waterford were attempting to complete a double, having won the League title in some style, mainly on the strength of their gifted forward line of John O'Neill, Alfie Hale, Mick Lynch and Johnny Matthews.
That season Rovers had a nice blend of youth and experience, but manager Liam Tuohy, who had introduced Frank Brady at centre-back, reckoned the former Home Farm starlet might be too raw, so he experimented with Johnny Fullam as a sweeper "to mind him". It worked a treat, as the hitherto free-scoring Waterford attack was kept in check.
His former teammates recall him as a young man who loved to dress well, usually in a three-piece suit, so much so that he earned the nickname 'Steed' after the character in the popular TV series The Avengers.
He was also called 'The Yank', which apparently had something to do with his way of expressing himself. "He was a very rich character in terms of personality, well-loved by all the players," recalled Mick Lawlor.
Frank was also known for holding strong opinions.
Frank stayed just over a year with Rovers, helping them to the All-Ireland Blaxnit Cup as well as to the FAI Cup, and playing against Rangers in the European Cup winners' Cup. He then emigrated to Australia, where he continued his football career, and he studied at night to qualify as a draughtsman.
After an unsuccessful trial with Arsenal, on his return to Dublin his work took him to Holland where he played with Haarlem. He re-joined Home Farm in 1978. They were now a League of Ireland club and, in six seasons, he played 121 League games, alongside players like Ronnie Whelan, Martin Murray, Mick Neville and Martin Moran.
He was a keen golfer for many years, and passed his love of this game on to his sons Eamonn and Liam, who both compete at a high level. Eamonn is now the professional at Clontarf Golf Club.
Music was a great passion, with Frank Sinatra a particular favourite, while he was also a more-than-competent artist, with one of his paintings of Royal Dublin Golf Club hanging in the Royal Portrush clubhouse.
Frank is survived by his wife Margaret and two sons.