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

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map