Happy St Patrick's Day!

West Ham United have been represented by a host of Irish Hammers throughout the Club’s illustrious history

West Ham United have been represented by a host of Irish Hammers throughout the Club’s illustrious history.

The first group of Irish Hammers to join the Club arrived in the late 1940s and early 1950s, when the likes of Noel Cantwell and Frank O’Farrell played a leading role in the establishment of the Academy of Football.

In more recent years, West Ham have played host to some of the finest players in Ireland’s history, including midfield playmaker Liam Brady and the country’s all-time leading goalscorer, Robbie Keane.

While some have produced the goods more regularly than others, there is no doubt that Irish Hammers have played a huge role for West Ham United down the years.

To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, we bring you an introduction to six of the men from the Emerald Isle who have performed in Claret and Blue.

Liam Brady (1986-90)

A gifted Dublin-born playmaker who arrived from Italian club Ascoli in 1986 and former Arsenal star, Liam Brady spent four seasons in the West Ham midfield, scoring ten goals in 116 appearances, before scoring in his final appearances and retiring to manage Scottish giants Celtic. Previously, Brady had turned out for Arsenal, winning the 1979 FA Cup, and spent two seasons each with Juventus and Sampdoria in Serie A. He later spent time on the coaching staff at Arsenal and served as Republic Ireland assistant manager.

Noel Cantwell (1952-60)

An outstanding Cork City-born full-back who joined West Ham from Cork Athletic in 1952 at the age of 20. Appointed captain of both club and country, Cantwell made 278 appearances over eight years in east London, leading West Ham to the Second Division title in 1958. He also appeared for the London XI in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final in the same year. Part of the group which famously formed what became the Academy of Football, Cantwell later joined Manchester United, captaining the Red Devils to FA Cup glory in 1963, before managing Coventry City and Peterborough United. He was also capped by Ireland at cricket. He passed away in 2005.

Robbie Keane (2011)

A short-term loan signing from Tottenham Hotspur, the Republic of Ireland’s all-time leading marksman enjoyed a rollercoaster few months with West Ham. The former Wolverhampton Wanderers, Coventry City, Internazionale, Leeds United and Liverpool forward scored on his debut at Blackpool, but managed just two goals in ten appearances before departing. Keane has since forged a successful career in the MLS with LA Galaxy.

George McCartney (2006-08 and 2011-14)

Northern Ireland international left-back George McCartney enjoyed two productive spells in Claret and Blue. After initially joining the club in 2006, McCartney helped the Hammers to pull off a miraculous escape from relegation at the end of his first season. After returning to former club Sunderland in 2008, the Belfast-born defender came back for a second spell in 2011, playing a large role in helping West Ham gain promotion via the Play-Offs in 2012.

Tommy Moroney (1947-53)

A midfielder, Tommy Moroney was one of the first Irish players to join West Ham, arriving from hometown club Cork United in 1947. A midfielder or forward, Moroney was an Ireland international and was part of the side which defeated England 2-0 at Goodison Park in 1949, becoming the first non-UK team to beat England on home soil. Moroney played 158 games for the Hammers, scoring 12 goals, before returning home to Evergreen United. He also represented Munster at rugby union. Moroney died in 1981.

Frank O’Farrell (1950-57)

A former Cork United teammate of Tommy Moroney, wing half Frank O'Farrell arrived at West Ham United in 1948 and made his first-team debut two years later in September 1950. An Irish international, O’Farrell totalled 213 appearances and eight goals during his seven seasons at the Boleyn Ground. He joined Preston North End in 1956 and went on to enjoy managerial success with a host of clubs and countries, including Leicester City, Manchester United and Iran. O’Farrell is still going strong at the age of 87 and lives in Devon
The six players profiled above are just half a dozen of the many who have turned out for West Ham down the decades, including the following:

Republic of Ireland

Gary Breen (2002-03), Johnny Carroll (1948-49), Clive Clarke (2005-06), David Connolly (2003-04), Noel Dwyer (1958-60), Ray Houghton (1982), Chris Hughton (1990-92), Fred Kearns (1949-54), David Kelly (1988-90), Danny McGowan (1948-54), Billy Neville (1957-58), Joey O’Brien (2011-present) and Charlie Turner (1937-39).

Northern Ireland

Roy Carroll (2005-07), Michael Hughes (1994-97), Steve Lomas (1997-2005), Grant McCann (2001-02), Alex McCartney (1905), Brian Moore (1954-56), Jimmy Quinn (1989-91) and Keith Rowland (1993-98).