What the heroes of 1990 are up to now

The Republic of Ireland team who played England. Back row, from left, Chris Morris, Steve Staunton, Tony Cascarino, Packie Bonner, Mick McCarthy and Paul McGrath. Front, from left, John Aldridge, Kevin Sheedy, Ray Houghton, Andy Townsend and Kevin Moran
The Republic of Ireland team who played England. Back row, from left, Chris Morris, Steve Staunton, Tony Cascarino, Packie Bonner, Mick McCarthy and Paul McGrath. Front, from left, John Aldridge, Kevin Sheedy, Ray Houghton, Andy Townsend and Kevin Moran

So where are they now, Ireland’s 22 footballers at the 1990 World Cup?

In the following pages in the Sunday World today we relive the heady days of Italia ’90 from our papers in June 1990.

But what are the players doing now, 25 years on? How has time and life taken their toll on men who were national heroes for that glorious summer of 1990?

Some of them are still very much in the public eye, others have got on with private lives with just the memories of those heady days to sustain them. Days when the green shirt mattered more than anything.

Here we tell you where they are now...


Packie Bonner (55) The man who saved Timofte’s penalty in Genoa was subsequently Ireland’s goalkeeping coach for many years and also held the post of Technical Director at the FAI for a long while. Now mainly does media work.

Ronnie Whelan (53) After leaving Liverpool in 1994 at the end of a 15-year career at Anfield, Ronnie went into management and led Greek club Panionios to the quarter-finals of the 1999 Cup-Winners-Cup. Now works in TV and on the after-dinner circuit.

Chris Morris (51) After playing every game at Italia ‘90, his last appearance for Ireland was in 1992 and Morris gave up football completely in 1997. The blond full-back now works in his family’s bakery business in Cornwall.

Steve Staunton (46) As a player he is an Irish legend, the only man to play in every one of Ireland’s 13 matches at the World Cup Finals. But a disastrous spell as Irish manager in 2006 and 2007 tarnished his legacy. Now scouting in England.

David O’Leary (57) The hero of the Genoa shoot-out went into football management on his retirement and had some success with Leeds United and less so with Aston Villa. O’Leary hasn’t managed for three years and lives in Yorkshire.

Mick McCarthy (56) Manager of Ipswich Town, who were defeated in this year’s Championship play-offs. Mick was manager of Ireland between 1996 and 2002 and has hinted that he would like another crack at the job some day.

Tony Cascarino (52) Having played on for Ireland until 1999, ‘Big Cas’ or ‘the ice-cream man’ did a fair amount of media work and is now a regular in the popular big-money poker tournaments around the world.

Kevin Moran (59) A columnist with the Sunday World, and a sports agent of whom John O’Shea would be his best-known client. Moran is still close to the game he graced, and keeps a close eye of the fortunes of the Dubs too.

Frank Stapleton (58) Didn’t get a minute’s action at 1990 and the centre-forward retired from international football soon after. ‘Stapo’ is one of Martin O’Neill’s international scouts based in the North-West of England.

Paul McGrath (55) Now living in Wexford, Paul remains one of Ireland’s most loved sportsmen ever. Writes a regular column in the Sunday World and the great man can be found on Twitter on a regular basis.

John Sheridan (50) John has managed several teams in England’s lower Leagues of late. Resigned as manager of Plymouth after they lost in the League Two play-offs last month, wishing to live nearer his family who are based in England’s North-West

Ray Houghton (53) A frequent contributor in the media and an FAI Ambassador, ‘Razor’ remains, on the back of those goals in Stuttgart and Giants Stadium, one of the most popular members of Jack Charlton’s Irish team.

Niall Quinn (48) The big man has had a varied career since quitting playing. Briefly manager of Sunderland, he was club Chairman at the Stadium of Light for far longer and is now a Sky TV panellist.

John Aldridge (56) Having scored 330 times, ‘Aldo’ sits sixth on the all-time list of English League goalscorers. He ran a pub for a long time in Liverpool, but now works for LFC TV and for local radio as well as having a football column in the Sunday World.

Alan McLoughlin (48) His World Cup moment in the sun was not to come until the famous qualifier in Windsor Park in 1993. Now lives in Swindon after several years of radio work for stations on England’s South Coast.

Kevin Sheedy (56) Scorer of the equaliser against England in Cagliari, midfielder Sheedy returned to Everton at the end of his playing career and, having battled serious illness, is still a coach at the club’s Academy.

Chris Hughton (56) ‘Gitsy’ spent a decade-and-a-half as a back-room boy with Spurs and was also Irish assistant manager under Brian Kerr. A highly-respected coach, he managed Newcastle and Norwich and is now in charge at Brighton.

Bernie Slaven (54) Still a legend in the Middlesbrough area as a result of the 119 goals he scored for the club across eight seasons. Slaven actually ran for political office as Mayor of Middlesbrough in 2002, but was not successful.

Andy Townsend (51) In the public eye as a pundit with ITV on their Champions League coverage, the midfieldfer who was the skipper four years later at USA ’94 is giving up his TV role this summer.

David Kelly (49) Played for no fewer than 11 professional clubs in a 22-year career. Scored Ireland’s goal in the abandoned international against England at Lansdowne Road.

Now assistant manager of Scunthorpe.

John Byrne (54) A reserve striker, Byrne scored in every round of the 1992 FA Cup, except the Final where his Sunderland team was beaten 2-0 by Liverpool. Transferred to Brighton, he still lives there and works in local radio.

Gerry Peyton (59) Jack Charlton’s little-used reserve keeper with Ireland, Peyton went into coaching after hanging up his boots and has been Arsene Wenger’s goalkeeping coach at Arsenal since 2003.