Athletes Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland

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List of famous athletes from Northern Ireland, listed alphabetically with photos when available. Northern 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 Northern Irish athletes of all time, so if you're a native of Northern 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 Northern Ireland then you can use the "search" box to find who you're looking for.

Examples of athletes on this list: Johnny Johnston, John Devine and many more.

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

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

1
Rory McIlroy is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Rory McIlroy, MBE is a Northern Irish professional golfer from Holywood in County Down who is a member of both the European and PGA Tours. He is the current World Number One and a four-time ...more

2
Charlie Nash is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern 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

3
Paddy Barnes is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern 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

4
George Best is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
George Best was a Northern Irish footballer who played as a winger for Manchester United and the Northern Ireland national team. In 1968 he won the European Cup with United, and was named the ...more

5
Maik Taylor is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Fulham F.C. Maik Stefan Taylor is a former Northern Ireland international football goalkeeper. At club level, Taylor played non-League football for Petersfield Town, Basingstoke Town and Farnborough Town ...more

6
Eamonn Loughran is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Eamonn Loughran born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland is a former professional boxer who fought in the light welterweight divisions.

7
Peter Doherty is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern 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

8
Elisha Scott is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Elisha Scott was an Irish football goalkeeper who most notably played for Liverpool from 1912 to 1934.

9
Whitey McDonald is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern 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

10
Adam Carroll is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Adam Carroll is a Northern Irish professional racing driver. He currently races in the Blancpain Endurance Series for Gulf Racing. He has also raced for Team Ireland in A1 Grand Prix, winning ...more

11
Sam English is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern 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

12
Joe Toner is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern 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

13
Paul Carlyle is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern 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

14
Ray Ferris is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern 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

15
Iain Dowie is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Hull City A.F.C. Iain Dowie is an English-born Northern Irish football manager, former professional footballer and sports television pundit. As a player he was a striker from 1983 until 2001, notably in the ...more

16
Frank Loughran is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Frank Loughran was a Belfast-born footballer who was considered to be one of the pioneers of the sport in Australia. Loughran moved to Australia at the age of 23 with his wife Lily and two small

17
Jackie Vernon is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern 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

18
Darron Gibson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Manchester United F.C. Darron Thomas Daniel Gibson is an Irish footballer who plays as a midfielder for Everton and the Republic of Ireland national team. He has also played for Manchester United and on loan for Royal ...more

19
Steve Lomas is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
St Neots Town F.C. Stephen Martin "Steve" Lomas is a Northern Irish former professional footballer and was most recently manager of Football League Championship club Millwall. As a player he was a ...more

20
Boyd Rankin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Boyd Rankin William Boyd Rankin is a cricketer from Northern Ireland, who has played international cricket for both England and Ireland. He is a right-arm medium-fast bowler. Rankin is a tall bowler who ...more

21
Danny Wilson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Swindon Town F.C. Daniel Joseph "Danny" Wilson is a former footballer and manager. He has previously coached Sheffield Wednesday, Bristol City, Milton Keynes Dons, Hartlepool United, Swindon Town, ...more

22
Marc Wilson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Portsmouth F.C. Marc David Wilson is an Irish footballer who plays as a defender or midfielder for Premier League club Stoke City and the Republic of Ireland national team. Wilson left his home town of ...more

23
Tony Kane is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Carlisle United F.C. Anthony Michael 'Tony' Kane is a Northern Irish footballer who plays for Ballymena United. As an international, Kane has played for both for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland at ...more

24
Aidan Davison is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Colchester United F.C. Aidan John Davison is an English-born Northern Irish former professional footballer and coach who is without a club after previously holding the position of Head Coach at USL Premier Development ...more

25
Alan Mannus is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Linfield F.C. Alan Mannus is a Northern Irish professional football goalkeeper currently playing for St. Johnstone. He began his career at Linfield, and during his time there he had spells on loan at Larne ...more

26
Saul Deeney is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Burton Albion F.C. Saul Deeney is an Irish former footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He has previously represented the Republic of Ireland at Youth and under-21 level. He now coaches at Notts County as of ...more

27
Iain Jenkins is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
St. Mirren F.C. Iain Jenkins is an English-born former footballer who represented Northern Ireland at international level. He is the former assistant manager of St. Mirren

28
Brian McLean is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Falkirk F.C. Brian Stuart McLean is a Scottish born Northern Ireland international professional footballer currently playing for Brunei DPMM of the Singaporean S.League. He began his career with Rangers and ...more

29
Barry Molloy is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Derry City F.C.

30
Paul Stirling is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Paul Stirling Paul Robert Stirling is an Irish cricketer. He debuted in first-class cricket in March 2008, playing for Ireland in the Intercontinental Cup. The same year Stirling made his debut in One Day ...more

31
Kevin Deery is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Derry City F.C.

32
Tony Capaldi is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Leeds United A.F.C. Anthony Charles "Tony" Capaldi is a footballer who plays for Northern Premier League Premier Division side Rushall Olympic as a defender. Born in Porsgrunn, Norway, he won 22 caps for ...more

33
Michael Hughes is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Michael Hughes St Neots Town F.C. Michael Eamon Hughes is a retired Northern Irish footballer who currently is a majority shareholder and co-owner of NIFL Championship 1 side Carrick Rangers.

34
Gary Wilson is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Gary Wilson Gary Craig Wilson born February 5, 1986 is an Irish cricketer. He is a right-handed batsman and a wicket-keeper. He has played for the Ireland cricket team since 2004, when he participated in ...more

35
Neil Sinclair is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Neil Sinclair aka Sinky is a professional boxer. He usually fights at light middleweight or the divisions either side.

36
William Porterfield is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
William Porterfield William Thomas Stuart Porterfield is an Irish-English cricketer. He is a left-handed batsman and the captain of the Ireland cricket team. He has played for the senior Ireland since 2006 and the ...more

37
Jeff Whitley is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Northwich Victoria F.C. Jeffrey "Jeff" Whitley is a Zambian-born Northern Irish former professional football player. He twice won promotion to the Premiership with Manchester City in 2000 and Sunderland in ...more

38
Kyle McCallan is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Kyle McCallan William Kyle McCallan, MBE, usually known as Kyle McCallan, is an Irish cricketer. A right-handed batsman and off spin bowler, he has played more times for the Ireland cricket team than any ...more

39
Lawrie Sanchez is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Lawrence Philip "Lawrie" Sanchez is a Northern Irish football manager and former international football player. The defining moment of his playing career came in the 1988 FA Cup Final, ...more

40
Paddy Maguire is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Paddy Maguire is a former bantamweight boxer. He was a Commonwealth Games silver medal winner and one-time holder of the BBBC bantamweight title.

41
Rory McCann is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Rory McCann Rory Desmond McCann is an Irish cricketer. McCann is a right-handed batsman who fields as a wicket-keeper. He was born at Belfast in Northern Ireland. McCann made his debut for Ireland in two ...more

42
James Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
James Hopkins was a Northern Irish association football player, who played at inside forward. Born in Ballymoney, he started out at Belfast United before being signed by Arsenal in 1919 at the ...more

43
Andrew White is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Andrew Roland White is a former Irish cricketer, who played in the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies, where Ireland reached the Super 8 stage. He was a right-handed batsman and a ...more

44
Andy Smith is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Andrew Mark "Andy" Smith, is a retired Scottish football player, who most recently was a temporary manager of Gretna F.C. with Mick Wadsworth.

45
Cormac McAnallen is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Cormac McAnallen was an Irish sportsperson. He played Gaelic football at senior inter-county level for Tyrone, as well as at club level for Eglish St. Patrick's. With Tyrone McAnallen won the ...more

46
Danny Hegan is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Danny Hegan Daniel "Danny" Hegan is a Scottish-born former professional footballer, who represented Northern Ireland at international level. Hegan won seven caps for Northern Ireland in a career ...more

47
Chris Nicholl is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Christopher John "Chris" Nicholl is an English-born former Northern Ireland international footballer who later worked as a coach and manager.

48
Conor Gormley is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Conor Gormley is a Gaelic footballer from Carrickmore in County Tyrone. He is a three-time All-Ireland Senior Football Championship winner and All Stars Award winner in 2003, 2005 and 2008. He ...more

49
Kyle Lafferty is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Rangers F.C. Kyle Lafferty is a Northern Irish professional footballer who plays as a Forward for Turkish Süper Lig club Çaykur Rizespor on loan from Championship club Norwich City. Lafferty ...more

50
Paddy McCourt is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Famous Athletes from Northern Ireland
Paddy McCourt Northern Ireland national football team Patrick James "Paddy" McCourt is a Northern Irish footballer who currently plays as a winger for Notts County, on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion. He also represents the Northern ...more