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February 24, 2017

Former Manchester United footballer to become Catholic priest

Former Manchester United midfielder Philip Mulryne has taken an unusual post-football career step, as he continues his bid to become a Catholic priest.

The Northern Irishman, who earned 27 caps for his country in a career that included spells with Norwich and Cardiff City, was this week ordained as a deacon in the Catholic Church.

While many ex-players go into coaching or television punditry, Mulryne has ditched his life of glamour for something of a more spiritual existence.



Mulryne at his Diaconate Ordination

The 38-year-old was ordained by the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, on Saturday and is now a member of the Dominican Order.

Twenty years ago, Mulryne made his debut for United under Sir Alex Ferguson, but now he is well on the way to being ordained as a priest in 2017.

The former team-mate of David Beckham and Ryan Giggs was also in the news last month, when he was declared bankrupt at Belfast’s High Court.

Mulryne earned up to £500,000 during his playing career, even dating glamorous model Nicola Chapman, who appeared on Real Footballer’s Wives 2005.

Now, though, he has turned his back on that life, first enrolling at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome in 2009.

He had previously spent two years studying philosophy in Italy, before undertaking a four-year theology degree in Belfast.


Mulryne at an acolyte 2

Paul McVeigh, who played alongside Mulryne at Norwich, said he had visited his friend in the Italian capital and was stunned when he found out.

‘Unfortunately, Phil struggled with injuries towards the end of his career and decided to stop playing and move back to Belfast and try and decide what he’d do with the rest of his days,’ McVeigh told the Catholic Herald.

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‘To my amazement, and most likely to the rest of the footballing fraternity’s, Phil decided to train to become a Catholic priest.

‘I was still in contact with him and knew that he had turned his life around and was doing a lot of charitable work and helping the homeless on a weekly basis.

‘Still, it was a complete shock that he felt this was his calling.’

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