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Northern Ireland Players in Oceania and Asian Football

Dating back to the earliest days of organised football there has been a steady stream of ex-pat players seeking to share the beautiful game with the colonies. The benefits of this were obvious, with the opportunity for a retirement pay-day in sunnier climes, or the chance of a new life far away from the strife at home. As such, Australia, New Zealand and British Hong Kong became a favoured spot for British pros from the 1960s-1980s.

More recently, Asian domestic football has grown in stature (and Australia have joined the AFC), starting with the J League in Japan in the 1990s through to the professional leagues in the likes of China and India seeking to cash-in on the huge markets presented by the world's two most populace countries.

The NSL was Australia's top division 1977-2004

The A-League became Australia's top flight in 2005

The Hong Kong First Division was founded in 1908, and was usurped by the Premier League in 2014

India's first national league was the NFL founded in 1996, which was replaced by the I-League in 2007. The Indian Super League is an additional league, founded in 2013 on a franchise basis.

The J.League became Japan's first national league in 1992 with a second tier J.2 founded in 1999 

Founded in 1983 as the Korean Super League, the K League has featured a second tier since 2013

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The S.League was founded in 1996 and was rebranded as the Singapore Super League (SOL) in 2018. Since 2003 various foreign clubs have taken part.

New Zealand's National Soccer League was founded in 1970. The Football Championship Premiership replaced it in 2004. As of 2021 the highest tier is the National League

Thailand's fully professional league was founded in 1996, though a national league dates back to 1916


Below are listed the Northern Ireland capped, born or otherwise eligible players who have played domestic football in the areas controlled by the Asian or Ocenia Football Confederations. 
Click on their names to see if they are profiled elswhere on NIFG.

Season

Club

Country

Tier

Comp

App

Gls

Noel Barkley

F

B: NI

25-Mar-61

NZL

20/5

-

Larne

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

-

Crusaders

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

1983-

Mt Maunganui

NZL

1

NZ-NSL

-

-

1987-

Papatoetoe

NZL

1

NZ-NSL

-

-

1988-

Mt Wellington

NZL

1

NZ-NSL

-

-

1991-92

Newcastle Breakers

AUS

1

A-NSL

8

3

 

 

1991-

Waitakere City

NZL

1

NZ-NSL

-

-

 

 

TOTAL

8

3

 

 

Barkley played in the Irish League before emigrating to New Zealand. He became naturalised and won 20 caps between 1986 and 1991.

Ollie Bassett

M

B: Packington (ENG)

06-Mar-98

NIR

U19

2018-19

Waitakere United

NZL

1

NZFC

18

4

2019-20

Team Wellington

NZL

1

NZFC

10

6

TOTAL

28

10

George Best

F

B: Belfast

22-May-46

NIR

37/9

1974

Jewish Guild

RSA

1

NFL

5

1

1976

LA Aztecs

USA

1

NASL

23

15

1977

LA Aztecs

USA

1

NASL

20

11

1978

LA Aztecs

USA

1

NASL

12

1

1978

Ft Lauderdale Strikers

USA

1

NASL

9

4

1979

Ft Lauderdale Strikers

USA

1

NASL

19

2

1980

San Jose Earthquakes

USA

1

NASL

26

8

1981

San Jose Earthquakes

USA

1

NASL

30

13

-1982-

Sea Bee

HKG

1

1st Div

2

0

-1982-

Rangers

HKG

1

1st Div

1

0

 

 

1983

Brisbane Lions

AUS

1

A-NSL

4

0

 

 

1983

Osborne Park Galeb

AUS

WA State

1

1

 

 

TOTAL

152

56

 

 

Kevin Braniff

F

B: Belfast

04-Mar-83

NIR

2/0

2014

Port Melbourne Sharks

AUS

2

NPL-Vic

10

5

 

 

TOTAL

10

5

 

 

Bobby Burns

D

B: Antrim

07-Oct-99

NIR

U21

2019-20

Newcastle Jets

AUS

1

A-Lge

16

0

 

 

TOTAL

16

0

 

 

Bobby Campbell

F

B: Belfast

13-Sep-56

NIR

2/0

1979

Brisbane City

AUS

1

A-NSL

15

6

 

 

TOTAL

15

6

 

 

Lee Colligan

 

B: Belfast

11-Feb-89

NIR

U21

2014-15

Team Wellington

NZL

1

NZFC

3

0

 

 

TOTAL

3

0

 

 

Terry Cochrane

M

B: Killyleagh

23-Jan-53

NIR

26/1

1983-84

Eastern Athletic

HKG

1

1st Div

12

8

1986

Dallas Sidekicks

USA

MISL

0

0

TOTAL

12

8

 

 

Robert Cullen

F

B: Ibaraki (JPN)

07-Jun-85

JPN

U20

2004

Júbilo Iwata

JPN

1

J.Lge Div 1

9

0

2005

Júbilo Iwata

JPN

1

J.Lge Div 1

31

13

2006

Júbilo Iwata

JPN

1

J.Lge Div 1

23

5

2007

Júbilo Iwata

JPN

1

J.Lge Div 1

26

7

2008

Júbilo Iwata

JPN

1

J.Lge Div 1

16

4

2009

Júbilo Iwata

JPN

1

J.Lge Div 1

4

0

2010

Júbilo Iwata

JPN

1

J.Lge Div 1

1

0

2010

Roasso Kumamoto

JPN

2

J.Lge Div 2

18

3

2010-11

VVV-Venlo

NED

1

Eredivisie

15

2

2011-12

VVV-Venlo

NED

1

Eredivisie

28

3

2012-13

VVV-Venlo

NED

1

Eredivisie

26

2

2014

Suphanburi

THA

1

League 1

22

7

2015

Seoul E-Land

KOR

2

K Lge 2

35

2

2016

NorthEast United

IND

1

ISL

8

0

2018-19

Leatherhead

ENG

7

Ishm Prem

-

-

TOTAL

262

48

Born in Japan to a Northern Irish father. Michael O’Neill explored the possibility of calling Cullen up in 2012. He had already earned Japan Under-20 caps at that point.

Lee Feeney

M

B: Kilkeel

21-May-78

NIR

U21

2000-01

Northern Spirit

AUS

1

A-NSL

3

0

 

 

TOTAL

3

0

 

 

Dylan Fox

D

B: NI

15-Apr-94

 

 

2013

Sutherland Sharks

AUS

NSW

-

-

 

 

2014

Bonnyrigg White Eagles

AUS

2

NPL-NSW

-

-

 

 

2015

Bonnyrigg White Eagles

AUS

2

NPL-NSW

-

-

 

 

-

Wellington Phoenix Res.

NZL

1

NZFC

-

-

 

 

2015-16

Wellington Phoenix

NZL

1

A-Lge

12

0

 

 

2016-17

Wellington Phoenix

NZL

1

A-Lge

6

0

 

 

2017-18

Wellington Phoenix

NZL

1

A-Lge

15

0

 

 

2018-19

Wellington Phoenix

NZL

1

A-Lge

6

0

 

 

2019

FC Anyang

KOR

2

K Lge 2

0

0

 

 

2019-20

Central Coast Mariners

AUS

1

A-Lge

11

1

 

 

2020-21

NorthEast United

IND

1

ISL

20

0

 

 

TOTAL

70

1

 

 

Jim Hagan

D

B: Monkstown

10-Aug-56

NIR

rep

1980

Detroit Express

USA

1

NASL

30

0

1980-81

Seiko

HKG

1

1st Div

-

-

1986-87

RC Celta Vigo

ESP

2

La Liga 2

14

0

1987-88

RC Celta Vigo

ESP

1

La Liga P

38

0

1988-89

RC Celta Vigo

ESP

1

La Liga P

22

0

1990

IK Oddevold

SWE

2

Div 1

-

-

1991

IK Oddevold

SWE

2

Div 1

-

-

TOTAL

104

0

 

 

John Hill

D

B: NI

08-May-49

NZL

17/0

1968-69

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

1969-70

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

1970-71

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

1971-72

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

1972-73

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

1973-74

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

1974-75

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1980

Gisborne City

NZL

1

NZ-NSL

-

-

1981

Gisborne City

NZL

1

NZ-NSL

-

-

1982

Gisborne City

NZL

1

NZ-NSL

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

TOTAL

0

0

 

 

Northern Ireland-born player who featured for New Zealand at the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain.

Aaron Hughes

D

B: Cookstown

08-Nov-79

NIR

106/1

2015-16

Melbourne City

AUS

1

A-Lge

6

1

 

 

2016

Kerala Blasters

IND

1

ISL

11

1

 

 

TOTAL

17

2

 

 

Alan Hunter

D

B: Larne

30-Jul-64

AUS

7/0

1983

Brisbane Lions

AUS

1

A-NSL

27

2

 

 

1984

Brisbane Lions

AUS

1

A-NSL

27

2

 

 

1985

Brisbane Lions

AUS

1

A-NSL

21

3

 

 

1986

Heidelberg United

AUS

1

A-NSL

20

7

 

 

1987

Heidelberg United

AUS

1

A-NSL

23

3

 

 

1988

Sydney Croatia

AUS

1

A-NSL

26

3

 

 

1989

Sydney Croatia

AUS

1

A-NSL

24

4

 

 

1989-90

Sydney Croatia

AUS

1

A-NSL

22

6

 

 

1990-91

Parramatta Eagles

AUS

1

A-NSL

11

1

 

 

1991-92

Brisbane United

AUS

1

A-NSL

25

4

 

 

1992-93

Brisbane United

AUS

1

A-NSL

19

4

 

 

1993-94

Brisbane Strikers

AUS

1

A-NSL

25

3

 

 

1994-95

Brisbane Strikers

AUS

1

A-NSL

21

4

 

 

1995-96

Brisbane Strikers

AUS

1

A-NSL

29

2

 

 

1996-97

Brisbane Strikers

AUS

1

A-NSL

19

5

 

 

1997-98

Carlton

AUS

1

A-NSL

6

0

 

 

TOTAL

345

53

 

 

Norman Kelly

M

B: Belfast

10-Oct-70

NIR

U21

1995-96

Canberra Cosmos

AUS

1

A-NSL

21

2

 

 

1996-97

Canberra Cosmos

AUS

1

A-NSL

23

7

 

 

1997-98

Canberra Cosmos

AUS

1

A-NSL

21

0

 

 

1998-99

Canberra Cosmos

AUS

1

A-NSL

14

0

 

 

TOTAL

79

9

 

 

Bertie Lutton

D

B: Banbridge

13-Jul-50

NIR

6/0

1977

Eastern Suburbs-Hakoah

AUS

1

A-NSL

18

5

 

 

1978

South Melbourne

AUS

1

A-NSL

22

1

 

 

1979

South Melbourne

AUS

1

A-NSL

25

4

 

 

1980

South Melbourne

AUS

1

A-NSL

24

0

 

 

1981

South Melbourne

AUS

1

A-NSL

14

0

 

 

1982

South Melbourne

AUS

1

A-NSL

2

0

 

 

TOTAL

105

10

 

 

Stephen Mallon

D

B: Belfast

07-Feb-99

NIR +IRL

U15 U21

2018-19

Sheffield United

ENG

Y

EFL - Ch

0

0

 

 

2018-19

Central Coast Mariners

AUS

1

A-Lge

8

1

 

 

TOTAL

8

1

 

 

Ron Manley

F

B: Belfast

18-Aug-61

NIR

U18

1979-80

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

1980-81

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

1981-82

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

1982-83

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

1983-84

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

1984-85

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

1985-86

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

1986-87

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

1987-88

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

1988-89

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

1989-90

APIA Leichhardt

AUS

1

A-NSL

10

2

 

 

1990-91

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

 

 

1991-92

Glentoran

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

 

 

1992-93

Cliftonville

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

 

 

1993-94

Cliftonville

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

 

 

1994-95

Cliftonville

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

 

 

1995-96

Cliftonville

NIR

1

IFL-PD

-

-

 

 

TOTAL

10

2

 

 

Terry McCavana

M

B: Belfast

24-Jan-22

NIR

3/0

-

Coleraine

NIR

1

IFL

-

-

-

Eastern Union

NZL

-

-

-

-

TOTAL

0

0

Ray McCoy

M

B: Cookstown

22-Mar-64

NIR

1/0

1990

Gisborne City

NZL

1

NZ-NSL

-

-

TOTAL

0

0

Terry McFlynn

M

B: Magherafelt

27-Mar-81

NIR

U21

2005-06

Sydney FC

AUS

1

A-Lge

21

1

 

 

2006-07

Sydney FC

AUS

1

A-Lge

16

0

 

 

2007-08

Sydney FC

AUS

1

A-Lge

17

2

 

 

2008-09

Sydney FC

AUS

1

A-Lge

16

2

 

 

2009-10

Sydney FC

AUS

1

A-Lge

27

1

 

 

2010-11

Sydney FC

AUS

1

A-Lge

27

1

 

 

2011-12

Sydney FC

AUS

1

A-Lge

26

0

 

 

2012-13

Sydney FC

AUS

1

A-Lge

19

0

 

 

2013-14

Sydney FC

AUS

1

A-Lge

9

0

 

 

2014

Bonnyrigg White Eagles

AUS

2

NPL-NSW

11

0

 

 

TOTAL

189

7

 

 

Niall McGinn

F

B: Dungannon

20-Jul-87

NIR

63/6*

2017

Gwangju

KOR

1

K Lge 1

7

0

TOTAL

7

0

Chris McGrath

F

B: Belfast

29-Nov-54

NIR

21/4

1982-83

South China

HKG

1

1st Div

-

-

1983-84

South China

HKG

1

1st Div

-

-

1984-85

South China

HKG

1

1st Div

-

-

TOTAL

0

0

Roddy McKenzie

G

B: Kilkeen

31-Jul-45

NIR

1/0

1977

Brisbane Lions

AUS

1

A-NSL

4

0

 

 

1978

Brisbane Lions

AUS

1

A-NSL

4

0

 

 

TOTAL

8

0

 

 

Rory McKeown

D

B: Belfast

08-Apr-93

NIR

U21

2019-20

Team Wellington

NZL

1

NZFC

14

0

2020-21