Tough-tackling defender Tom Connell spent four years with Manchester United without making an impact, but his Irish League career was much more successful...
Name: Thomas Connell
Born: 25 November 1957, Newry
Height: 5.10 ft
Weight: 10.12 st
Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 1 Full Cap (1978); 1 Under-21 Cap (1978); Irish League: 1 Cap (1986).
Club Honours: (with Coleraine) Irish Cup Winner 1975/76; (with Glentoran) Irish Cup Winner 1982/83, 1985/86; Gold Cup Winner 1982/83, Runner-Up 1983/84; Ulster Cup Winner 1982/83, 1983/84; Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1984/85, 1986/87, Runner-Up 1982/83; (with Portadown) Gold Cup Runner-Up 1988/89.
Teams............ --Seasons-- League Europe
St. John Bosco............... (Carnbane League)
Coleraine............................. 2/ 0
Manchester United 78/79-81/82 ..2/ 0
Glentoran........ 82/83-86/87 170/ 1* .8/ 0
* All domestic games.
Tom Connell was a hard-tackling left-back or centre-back who appeared for Northern Ireland at Under-21 level and made his only full appearance, as a sub against Wales in 1978, whilst still on Coleraine's books.
Connell joined Manchester United in August 1978, and his sole League outings were made consecutively, as deputy for regular left-back, Stewart Houston. Both his debut at Bolton Wanderers, on 22nd December 1978, and the Boxing Day visit of Liverpool to Old Trafford resulted in 3-0 defeats. Despite appearing regularly in the Central League for United’s reserves, Connell never seemed likely to establish himself in First Division football.
During Ron Atkinson's first season in charge at Old Trafford, Connell was transfer-listed. Glentoran paid £37,000 for his signature in the summer of 1982. At the Oval Connell won winner's medals in the Irish Cup, Gold Cup, Ulster Cup and Co. Antrim Shield, was voted the club's Player of the Year in 1983/84 as well as adding Inter-League honours to his collection.
In the summer of 1987 Connell was signed for a second time by his ex-Glen's boss Ronnie McFall. He joined a Portadown team on the verge of the most successful period in their history, and McFall made him captain only for him to miss out on additional medals due to injury.
Northern Ireland Cap Details:
19-05-1978 Wales (a) L 0-1 BC sub
Summary: 0(1)/0. Won 0, Drew 0, Lost 1.