Athletes Famous Athletes from Ireland

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List of famous athletes from Ireland, listed alphabetically with photos when available. Ireland has seen some very talented athletes over the years, many of who have gone on to represent their country in the Olympics. These are some of the best Irish athletes of all time, so if you're a native of Ireland and are aspiring to compete in sports professionally then these are people you should look up to. If you're searching for a particular popular athlete from Ireland then you can use the "search" box to find who you're looking for.

Items include everything from Stephen Dawson to James J. Braddock.

This list answers the questions, "Who are the greatest Irish athletes?" and "Which athletes are from Ireland?"

You can click on the names of these legendary athletes of Ireland in order to get more information about each one.

1
Sonia O'Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Sonia O'Sullivan is an Irish former athlete. She began her running career in Ballymore Running Club which is located in the eastern side of Cobh Town. She was one of the world's leading female ...more

2
Carey May is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Carey May is a former long-distance runner from Ireland, who won the Osaka Ladies Marathon in 1983 and 1985.

3
Charlie Nash is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Charlie Nash, born in Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1951, is a retired boxer. As an amateur he held an Irish national title and represented Ireland in the 1972 Olympic Games. As a professional he ...more

4
Joanne Cuddihy is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Joanne Cuddihy is an Irish sprint athlete, competing for the Kilkenny City Harriers. She is the Irish 400 metres outdoor women's record holder with a time of 50.73 seconds.

5
Derval O'Rourke is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Derval O'Rourke is an Irish former sprint hurdles athlete. She competed internationally in the 60 and 100 metres hurdles, and is the Irish national record holder in both events. She participated ...more

6
Paddy Barnes is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Patrick Gerard Barnes MBE is an Irish amateur boxer from Belfast. Representing Ireland, he has won two Olympic bronze medals. The first at the 2008 Summer Olympics and the second at the 2012 ...more

7
Olive Loughnane is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Olive Loughnane is a retired Irish race walker. She has competed in four Olympic Games. Loughnane has represented Ireland at five consecutive editions of the World Championships in Athletics and ...more

8
Niall O'Higgins is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland

9
Maeve Kyle is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Maeve Esther Enid Kyle, OBE, née Shankey, is an Irish Olympic athlete and hockey player. She competed in the 100m and 200m in the Melbourne Olympics and subsequently in the Rome Olympics ...more

10
Catherina McKiernan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Catherina McKiernan is a former long-distance runner from Ireland, who competed in the marathon, 10,000 metres and cross country running.

11
Gillian O'Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Gillian O'Sullivan is an Irish race walker. She has held the world record in the 5000m walk since 2002 and won a silver medal at the world championship in 2003 over 20km. It was the first time ...more

12
Ron Delany is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Ronald Michael Delany, better known as Ron or Ronnie Delany, is an Irish former athlete, who specialised in middle distance running. He earned a gold medal by finishing in first place in the ...more

13
Francie Barrett is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Francis Barrett is a professional boxer.

14
Andy Lee is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Andy Lee is an Irish professional boxer from Limerick, Ireland. He is the current WBO Middleweight world champion, trained by Adam Booth. He was formerly trained by Boxing Hall Of Fame inductee, ...more

15
Matthew Macklin is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Matthew Macklin, known as "The Tipperary Tornado", is a British-Irish professional boxer, who represents Britain and Ireland in the ring. He fights at middleweight or the divisions ...more

16
Ed Joyce is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Edmund Christopher Joyce is an Irish cricketer who has played for both the Irish and English national cricket teams. After beginning his career with Middlesex, he moved to Sussex in 2009. A ...more

17
Johnny Carey is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
John James "Johnny" Carey, also known as Jackie Carey, was an Irish professional footballer and manager. As a player Carey spent most of his career at Manchester United, where he was ...more

18
James J. Braddock is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
James Walter "Cinderella Man" Braddock was an American boxer who was the world heavyweight champion from 1935 to 1937. Fighting under the name James J. Braddock, he was known for his ...more

19
Elisha Scott is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Elisha Scott was an Irish football goalkeeper who most notably played for Liverpool from 1912 to 1934.

20
Peter Doherty is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Peter Dermot Doherty was a Northern Ireland international footballer and manager who played for several clubs, including Manchester City and Doncaster Rovers. An inside left, he was one of the ...more

21
Derek Roche is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Derek Roche is an Irish former professional boxer. He fought at mainly within the Light Middleweight division but could compete at Welterweight and Super Middleweight. Roche turned professional ...more

22
Damaen Kelly is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Damaen Kelly is a former professional boxer from Belfast, Northern Ireland, who represented the Ireland at the Olympics. Kelly fought his final professional fights in the Bantamweight division ...more

23
Eamonn Loughran is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Eamonn Loughran born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland is a former professional boxer who fought in the light welterweight divisions.

24
Steve Collins is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Stephen Collins, more commonly known as Steve Collins, is an Irish professional boxer. Known as "The Celtic Warrior", Collins is the former WBO middleweight and super-middleweight ...more

25
Jamie Moore is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Jamie Moore is a retired professional boxer from Walkden, Salford and is the former European light middleweight champion. Moore fights at Light Middleweight but has competed in the divisions ...more

26
Whitey McDonald is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Whitey McDonald was a Canadian soccer player who earned two caps with Ireland. He began his professional career in Canada, spent four seasons in the American Soccer League, then finished it in ...more

27
Pat O'Callaghan is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Dr. Patrick "Pat" O'Callaghan, was an Irish athlete and Olympic gold medallist. He was the first athlete from an independent Ireland to win an Olympic medal in sport and is regarded as ...more

28
Kevin Doyle is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Reading F.C. Kevin Edward Doyle is an Irish international footballer who plays as a forward for Wolverhampton Wanderers. With his contract with Wolves expiring at the conclusion of the current season, Doyle ...more

29
Paul Carlyle is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Paul Carlyle is a former Northern Irish footballer and currently a manager. Carlyle, nicknamed 'Storky', played for Derry City in the League of Ireland and was an important member of their ...more

30
Sam English is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Samuel English was a Northern Irish footballer who played for several clubs during the 1930s, but is mainly remembered for his time with Rangers. English also won two international caps for ...more

31
Joe Toner is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Joseph Samuel Toner was an Irish professional footballer. He played eight times for the Ireland national team. Born in Castlewellan, County Down, Toner played for Belfast United before joining ...more

32
Eamonn Coghlan is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Eamonn Christopher Coghlan is an Irish Senator and former athlete, who specialised in middle distance track events and the 5000 metres. He is a 3-time Olympian and former World Champion in the ...more

33
Ray Ferris is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Raymond Osborn "Ray" Ferris was a Northern Irish professional footballer who played as a left half. He played nearly 200 games in the Football League for Crewe Alexandra and Birmingham ...more

34
Glenn Whelan is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Stoke City F.C. Glenn David Whelan is an Irish footballer who plays as a midfielder for Premier League club Stoke City and the Republic of Ireland national team. Whelan started his career at Manchester City but ...more

35
Mick O'Brien is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Michael Terence O'Brien, commonly referred to as Mick O'Brien, was an Irish footballer and coach whose career took him to at least seventeen different clubs. A well built six footer, O'Brien was ...more

36
Paul Hession is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Paul Hession is an Irish international track and field athlete who specialises in the sprinting events, particularly the 200 metres. He has won silver and bronze medals at the World University ...more

37
Bob Tisdall is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Robert Morton Newburgh Tisdall was an Irish athlete who won a gold medal in the 400 metre hurdles at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Tisdall was raised in Nenagh, County Tipperary. He ...more

38
John Treacy is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
John Treacy is an Irish former athlete and Olympic medalist. He represented Ireland at four Olympic Games between 1980 and 1992. His nickname was "The Mudlark," due to his winning ...more

39
Darren Sutherland is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Darren John Sutherland was an Irish professional boxer from Mulhuddart, County Dublin, Ireland. His amateur career was crowned by a bronze medal for Ireland in the middleweight division at the ...more

40
Jackie Vernon is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
John Joseph Vernon also referred to as Jackie Vernon, was an Irish footballer who played for, among others, Belfast Celtic and West Bromwich Albion. Vernon was a dual international and played ...more

41
Robert Heffernan is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Robert "Rob" Heffernan is an Irish race walker.

42
Alistair Cragg is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Alistair Ian Cragg is an international track and field athlete. Born and brought up in South Africa, he has since lived in England and United States where he attended the University of Arkansas. ...more

43
John O'Shea is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Republic of Ireland national football team John Francis O'Shea is an Irish footballer, who plays as a defender for Sunderland and the Republic of Ireland national football team. He is known for his versatility in playing several ...more

44
Richard Dunne is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Manchester City F.C. Richard Patrick Dunne is an Irish footballer who plays as a defender and currently plays for Queens Park Rangers. He also played internationally for the Republic of Ireland national football ...more

45
Bernard Dunne is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Bernard Dunne is a former Irish professional boxer and a former WBA, and European Super Bantamweight champion. On Saturday 21 March 2009, Dunne defeated Ricardo Cordoba in the 11th round to ...more

46
David Forde is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Republic of Ireland national football team David Forde is an Irish professional footballer. He plays as a goalkeeper for Football League Championship side Millwall and the Republic of Ireland national side.

47
Stephen Dawson is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Bury F.C. Stephen John Dawson is an Irish professional footballer who plays as for English club Rochdale. He primarily plays as a central midfielder, although he has also been deployed in defensive ...more

48
Stephen Elliott is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
Preston North End F.C. Stephen Elliott is an Irish international footballer who plays as a striker for Carlisle United. He has previously played for Manchester City, Sunderland, Wolves, Preston North End, Heart of ...more

49
Keith Fahey is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
St Patrick's Athletic F.C. Keith Declan Fahey is a Republic of Ireland international footballer who plays for the League of Ireland side Shamrock Rovers. He plays predominantly as a central midfielder, but also ...more

50
John Duddy is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Famous Athletes from Ireland
John Francis Duddy is an Irish retired middleweight professional boxer, from Derry. Duddy fought under the moniker of "Ireland's John Duddy" or "The Derry Destroyer". Duddy ...more