Former Norwich City midfield player Philip Mulyrne was ordained as a priest in the Dominican Order (Order of Preachers) in Dublin on July 8 swapping his football shirt for priestly robes. St John’s Cathedral parishioner and personal friend Clare Richards reports.
Philip Mulryne, born in Belfast, had an outstanding professional football career for 13 years – eight of those in Norwich at Carrow Road. He first played for Manchester United and earned 27 caps for Northern Ireland, and quickly became a fans’ favourite.
At Norwich City, a bad injury early on kept him out for a year. My student daughter was an evening waitress in a Chinese restaurant at the time and Philip and his mother liked to eat there and occasionally I joined them.
Philip recovered from the injury, living his dream, but as he later admitted, he stopped going to Mass, and lived a materialistic lifestyle.
Eventually he went home to Ireland. We heard no more about him for a long time. He later wrote that he fell in love again with his faith and started to go back to Mass.
In 2010 I was in Rome at the English College and discovered that Philip, studying for the priesthood at the Irish college, was to play in a football match. We met up again.
When I said “what a coincidence” he replied “there are no coincidences, we are meant to share our love for God together”. He later realized God calling him to be in a religious community.
I was so happy when he joined the Dominicans in Dublin. I was privileged to be invited to his First Profession, to his Final Profession, and to his ordination as Deacon. Most recently to his ordination as a Dominican priest. Fr Philip is now chaplain at the Dominican school in County Kildare, with two days a week playing and teaching football. I guess the girls will want to join in also!
Pictured above is Fr Philip Mulryne during his ordination and with Archbishop Augustine, courtesy of www.dominicans.ie