IRISH legend Paul McGrath has been inducted into Irish football's Hall of Fame. The FAI has honoured McGrath and trailblazer Anne O'Brien in its annual international awards list. This is the second successive year that there has been both a male & female recipient of the award, which dates back to 1997.
The universally popular McGrath is in every conversation when the subject is Name the Best Footballer to Play for the Republic of Ireland. He amassed 83 senior caps and featured in the 1988 European Championships as well as the 1990 and 1994 World Cup tournaments.
FAI Interim Deputy CEO Niall Quinn, who played alongside McGrath for many years with Ireland, said: "I have to admit that I was a little bit star struck when I met Paul at Abbotstown to present him with Hall of Fame award – and I played with him! That just tells you the stature of the man.
"The word legend can be used very freely these days but Paul is just that, a legend of world football and not just an Irish hero. He was there for all the great days of the Jack Charlton era and it was a pleasure to play with him and be around him in those Ireland squads.
"Paul is a very humble man to this day and to meet him again was such a pleasure. He is one of the greatest players we have ever seen and his arrival into the FAI’s Hall of Fame is so well deserved."
Dublin-born Anne O'Brien passed away in 2016 but left behind a legacy that saw her become an early trailblazer for women's football in Ireland as she enjoyed tremendous success in both France and Italy.
A former Ireland Women's senior international, O'Brien was a technically-gifted midfielder who became known as one of the best foreign players to feature in the Italian League, where she won six League titles and two Italian Women's Cups.
O'Brien comes from a rich bloodline of Irish footballing talent as she was related to both John Giles and Jimmy Conway, while her nephew, Ger O'Brien, captained St Patrick's Athletic to FAI Cup glory.
Paul O'Brien, Anne's brother who accepted the award on her behalf, said: "This is a fantastic honour to recognise what Anne did. She would have been delighted with this and our family are very appreciative for it. We'd like to thank the FAI for remembering Anne and what she did in her footballing career."