The Emerald Isle has a habit of producing strong characters within top flight football and many have risen to the occasion to provide more than their fair share of memorable moments since the Premier League began.
Today we celebrate the cream of Ireland’s talent by tipping our hat to the players who made history as EPL record breakers.
Highest goalscorer – Robbie Keane
The former Leeds and Spurs striker racked up an impressive 126 goals in 17 seasons in the Premier League, a feat that only three other foreign players (Thierry Henry, Robin van Persie and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink) have managed to surpass.
Keane found the net at each club he represented and such fine form made him an ever-present member of the senior Ireland team during his playing career.
Most appearances – Shay Given
Given has tallied up no less than 451 appearances in the EPL (as of March 2017). To put this achievement into perspective, only two other non-British players feature among the top 20, those being Mark Schwarzer and Sylvain Distin.
The magic number of 632 set by Ryan Giggs may be beyond Given’s reach but with health on his side who knows what he can achieve.
Most assists – Damien Duff
The speedy wideman managed 55 assists in his Premier League tenure, one more than the mighty Paul Scholes and one fewer than King Cantona.
From his youth days at Blackburn to the autumn years at Fulham, Duff’s consistency on the pitch was key to his journey to become the Ireland player with the highest number of assists in the EPL.
Most trophies – John O’Shea
The ROI centre half owes much of his success to the foundation of Ferguson’s red machine of the early 21st century.
Although only a bit-part player, O’Shea turned out on many occasions at home and in Europe to earn 15 medals at United.
Most injuries – Jonathan Walters
According to the stats Jonathan Walters is the Ireland sick note champion, not that he will want that accolade to outlast his performances on the pitch.
During his Premier League tenure Walters has fallen victim to 26 different injuries and the most draining only kept him out for 21 days.
Oldest player – Shay Given
Shay Given makes the headlines again, this time as the oldest Irish player to pull on a jersey for a Premier League side.
Now fighting for his spot at Stoke City, the goalkeeper who is 40 years young may recognise that his glory days are behind him.
Regardless of age, he is an icon between the sticks and will crave more action before his contract at bet365 Stadium runs to and end.
Tallest player – Shane Duffy
Standing head and shoulders above his Ireland comrades at 1.93m is Shane Duffy.
After only a handful of appearances for Everton under David Moyes, the burly centre half was left battling for a spot in the back four before emerging as a starter for the Toffees in 2012 when they earned a 2-0 victory over Premiership rivals Tottenham.
Duffy’s career at Goodison was short-lived, he slipped out of favour and moved on to play lower league football…but his legend remains!
Fattest player – Paddy Kenny
Paddy Kenny knew how to throw his weight around in the Premier league. The boffins at the football stat centre have him down as the second heaviest player in the history of top flight English football.
His robust figure didn’t go unnoticed amongst fans or colleagues. Former manager Neil Warnock once commented, “He looks like the Michelin Man”.
The Irish giant spent eight years at Sheffield United before spells with QPR, Leeds, Bolton and Ipswich, but is currently a free agent.
Dirtiest player – Richard Dunne
If your name is above Roy Keane in the foul play leader board then you’ve certainly enjoyed a colourful career.
Step forward Richard Dunne who totted up eight red cards during his Premier League days. That’s an astonishing 4617 minutes per red card.
For the record, Keano managed a lousy seven red cards at 4413 minutes per red card.
Dunne also made a name for himself as an own-goal specialist but one wooden spoon is enough – unlike Dunne, we won’t kick a man when he’s down.
Fastest player – Shane Long
The record books have Shane Long, currently leading the front line at Southampton as the fastest Irishman on two legs to ever grace the Premiership.
Long clocks in at 35.31 km/h. Let’s see how that measures up against the other speed demons in the league – on paper he is faster than #4 Jamie Vardy of Leicester City – 35.10 km/h and #3 Kyle Walker of Tottenham – 35.18 km/h.
Research conducted independently by sports website ticket-compare.