Kevin O'Flanagan

Sporting all-rounder for Ireland

Kevin Patrick O'Flanagan, footballer, rugby player, athlete, medical practitioner and sports administrator: born Dublin 10 June 1919; died Dublin 26 May 2006.

There is no shortage of talented brothers who have played international sport but few, if any, can match the achievements of the Dublin-born O'Flanagans. The second of four brothers, Kevin O'Flanagan became an international in both football and rugby and was also the Irish sprint and long-jump champion.

Not to be outdone, his younger brother Michael matched his achievement of becoming a double international and the two men actually played on the same Irish football side against England in Dublin in 1946. It took an 82nd-minute goal from Tom Finney to beat an Irish team that not only included the O'Flanagan brothers up front, but also Con Martin, Paddy Coad and Tommy Eglington.

Despite attending a largely Gaelic football-orientated school, the Christian Brothers school in Synge Street, Kevin O'Flanagan became an accomplished football player at a young age and made his début for Bohemians when he was 16. Two years later, in November 1937, he marked his début for Ireland with a goal from inside-left in a 3-3 draw with Norway in a World Cup qualifier at Dalymount Park.

O'Flanagan won seven of his 10 Irish caps while playing as an amateur for Bohemians. After qualifying as a doctor from University College Dublin in 1945, he moved to Ruislip to practise and signed as an amateur for Arsenal in 1946. He spent one season at Highbury, scoring three goals in a run of 14 Division One matches. He made his English league début against Blackburn Rovers on 4 September 1946 and played 20 games in all for the Gunners, including two FA Cup appearances. His colourful career also included stints with non-league Barnet and six league appearances for Brentford in 1949.

O'Flanagan also used his speed to great purpose and success on the rugby pitch. In 1942, when he was combining football with Bohemians and rugby with University College Dublin, he was selected to play for the Irish XV against the British Army at Ravenhill. While at Arsenal, he also turned out for London Irish and played in the unofficial rugby Test against France at Lansdowne Road in 1947.

His one cap for the Irish rugby team came against the touring Australians in 1947, a 16-3 defeat at Lansdowne Road. His brother Michael fared a little better later in the same season when he played in the win over Scotland that helped Ireland clinch their only Grand Slam to date in 1948, thus making the O'Flanagans the only brothers to have played soccer and rugby for their country.

An Irish sprint champion at 60 and 100 metres, as well as a four-times winner of the national long jump title, Kevin O'Flanagan would have been a certainty to make the Irish Olympic team in either 1940 or 1944 had the Second World War not intervened. However, in 1948 he began an involvement with the Games which lasted more than 50 years when he was a member of the medical team at the London Olympiad.

After resettling his medical practice in Upper Fitzwilliam Street in Dublin in the early Fifties, he became the chief medical officer for the Irish Olympic team from 1960 to 1976. He was also a member of the International Olympic Committee from 1976 until 1995.

Rob Cole


Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
videoWatch Lynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance
Arts and Entertainment
The last great picture - Winner 'Black and White' and overall 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage

Arts and Entertainment
High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg

Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions

Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down

Arts and Entertainment
S Club 7 pose for Children in Need 2001
Arts and Entertainment
'Right Here' singer Jess Glynne is nominated for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards 2014
musicExclusive: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of white artists nominated for Mobo Awards
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution

Review: Witty banalities aside, the comedian has an authentic voice

Arts and Entertainment
Separated at birth? Frank Sivero (left) claims The Simpsons based Mafia character Louie on his Goodfellas character
arts + entsFrank Sivero sues Simpsons studio over allegedly basing mobster character on Frank Carbone
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Deputy Head of Science

£36000 - £60000 per annum: Randstad Education Southampton: Our client are a we...

IT Teacher

£22000 - £32000 per annum + TLR: Randstad Education Southampton: Our client is...

Database Administrator

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: The role could involve w...

Science Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified secondary s...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London