Roy Keane

10 Republic of Ireland Players With the Most Appearances in Premier League History

Updated: 21/3/20

Players from Republic of Ireland have always been common in English football and many have often proved to be very popular in the Premier League over the years.

Here are the 10 Irish players with the most appearances in Premier League history. 

10. Denis Irwin - 328 Games

Clubs: Manchester United, Wolverhampton Wanderers

Reliable full-back Denis Irwin was one of the few players who helped bridge the transition between Manchester United's first two great teams of the Premier League era.

All in all, Irwin won seven league titles during his time at Old Trafford. He left at the age of 36 in 2002, but returned to the top flight a year later after helping Wolves earn promotion. 

9. Kenny Cunningham - 335 Games

Clubs: Wimbledon, Birmingham City

Former Wimbledon and Birmingham defender Kenny Cunningham holds the perhaps unwanted Premier League record for most appearances without scoring a single goal.

As a centre-back, finding the net wasn't in his usual remit, but Cunningham still never managed to score in any of his 335 Premier League games over more than a decade. 

8. Robbie Keane - 349 Games

Clubs: Coventry City, Leeds United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, West Ham United, Aston Villa

The definition of a journeyman, Robbie Keane played for six different clubs in the Premier League during his long career that also took him to Italy, the United States and India.

Keane was at his best during his time with Tottenham, scoring 80 league goals in six season during his first spell with the club. A dream move to Liverpool in 2008 didn't live up to the big fee. 

7. Rory Delap - 359 Games

Clubs: Derby County, Southampton, Sunderland, Stoke City

English-born Rory Delap is best remembered for the long throws that made Stoke a tremendously difficult team to play against when the Potters were first promoted in 2008.

Yet the Republic of Ireland international had already played over 200 Premier League games before then, turning out for Derby, Southampton and Sunderland since the 1990s. 

6. Roy Keane - 366 Games

Clubs: Nottingham Forest, Manchester United

Manchester United paid a British record £3.75m to buy Roy Keane, who was still a couple of weeks shy of his 22nd birthday at the time, from recently relegated Nottingham Forest.

It proved to be money well spent, with the midfielder immediately becoming a vital part of the title winning side. He later inherited the captaincy in 1997 and lifted four more titles as skipper. 

5. Stephen Carr - 377 Games

Clubs: Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, Birmingham City

Former Tottenham right-back Stephen Carr played 377 Premier League games as it was, but might have appeared in many more had he not lost valuable time to injuries at various stages.

Carr was forced to miss the whole 2001/02 season because of knee trouble and encountered further injuries at Newcastle, yet he reappeared as a regular Birmingham starter in his twilight years. 

4. Damien Duff - 392 Games

Clubs: Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea, Newcastle United, Fulham

Dublin-born winger Damien Duff was one of the most exciting talents in the Premier League during his early years with Blackburn, and was snapped up by Chelsea for £17m in 2003.

Duff subsequently proved crucial to Chelsea's success in the early years of the Roman Abramovich era, playing regularly during the club's 2004/05 and 2005/06 title winning years. 

3. Richard Dunne - 431 Games

Clubs: Everton, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Queens Park Rangers

After getting his start in professional football with Everton in the late 1990s, Richard Dunne joined a Manchester City team newly promoted to the Premier League in the summer of 2000.

During a decade in the blue half of Manchester, the defender saw City rise from being a yo-yo club struggling to stay in the top flight, to one of the richest in the world after the 2008 takeover. 

2. John O'Shea - 445 Games

Clubs: Manchester United, Sunderland

John O'Shea played as a right-back, left-back, central midfielder and even goalkeeper during his Manchester United career, winning five Premier League titles as the team's utility man.

Even after leaving Old Trafford in 2011, the Waterford-born star played close to another 200 Premier League games for Sunderland, albeit mostly at the other end of the table. 

1. Shay Given - 451 Games

Clubs: Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Stoke City

Goalkeeper Shay Given was still playing Premier League football at the age of 40 during the 2016/17 campaign, 20 years after he had made his debut in the competition.

Given is most remembered for his time with Newcastle, where he was number one for 11-and-a-half years. After that he briefly joined the Manchester City revolution.


Accurate as of date of publication