St. Patrick's Day: Ligue 1's Irish connection

St. Patrick's Day: Ligue 1's Irish connection

Publish on 03/14 at 11:28 - G. BOXALL


From Tony Cascarino to Jake O'Brien, with St. Patrick's day coming up, we take a look at all the Irish talent that have passed through Ligue 1 Uber Eats and France down the years…

Jake O'Brien (Olympique Lyonnais) 2023 - Present

Lyon's current centre-back was signed this summer from Crystal Palace and became the first player from the Republic of Ireland to play for a Ligue 1 club for 23 years. O'Brien was given his chance under Fabio Grosso, and has since been a mainstay under Pierre Sage. "The Irish are famous for their state of mind and their fighting spirit," said the defender in an interview back in December. "This is what I want to show on the pitch and I am sure that the supporters will like it."

Tony Cascarino (Olympique de Marseille, AS Nancy) 1994 - 1996

In 1994, Tony Cascarino signed for l'Olympique de Marseille after failing to impress at Chelsea. The Republic of Ireland international ended his first season at the club as Ligue 2 top-scorer on 31 goals, winning the title, but having to replay another season in the second tier due to scandals surrounding club president Bernard Tapie. Cascarino would then repeat his performance the following season with 30 goals and promotion to Ligue 1 before joining AS Nancy in the same division in 1996. He went on to feature in 109 appearances for the Lorraine side, scoring 44 goals including the oldest hat trick in Ligue 1 in a victory against Rennes at the age of 37 years and 31 days.

Frank Stapleton (Le Havre) 1988 - 1989

The former Arsenal, Manchester United, and Ajax forward wound up at Le Havre in the 1988 - 1989 season off the back of representing Ireland at the European Championships as his nation's captain.He played for the Normand side on 18 occasions, scoring five goals before returning to England to move to Blackburn Rovers in 1989.

John Byrne (Le Havre) 1988-1990

John Byrne was also an Irish international who moved to Le Havre the same time that Staplton moved to Normandy from Ajax. Also an attacker, Byrne scored 16 goals in 49 appearances for the Ciel et Marine before moving on in 1990 to play for Brighton & Hove Albion.

Mick McCarthy (Lyon) 1989-1990

He would go on to become an emblematic manager in the Premier League and for his national team, but in his playing days Mick McCarthy spent one season with Les Gones in the 1989-1999 season. He only made 10 appearances in that season as OL finished eighth, before the Irish international moved to Millwall.

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