Irwin in 2017
|Full name||Joseph Denis Irwin|
|Date of birth||31 October 1965|
|Place of birth||Cork, Ireland|
|1986–1987||Republic of Ireland U21||3||(0)|
|1989||Republic of Ireland U23||1||(1)|
|1990||Republic of Ireland B||1||(0)|
|1990–1999||Republic of Ireland||56||(4)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Born in Cork, Ireland, he is best known for his long and successful stint at Manchester United, where he established himself as one of the most important players in the United team that won a host of domestic and European trophies in his time there between 1990 and 2002. He has been regarded by Alex Ferguson as, pound for pound, his greatest ever signing. Earlier in his career he played for Leeds United and then Oldham Athletic, and finished his career with a two-year spell at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Irwin was capped by the Republic of Ireland national side 56 times, scoring four goals and featuring in the side that reached the second round (last 16) at the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Irwin is the joint most successful Irish footballer in history, a record he shares with fellow Manchester United stalwart Roy Keane, having won 19 major trophies in his career.
Irwin grew up in Cork and was educated at Coláiste Chríost Rí. As a schoolboy, he excelled at both Gaelic football and hurling, and played at Croke Park more than once, on one occasion marking future teammate, Niall Quinn.
Irwin began his career with Leeds United in 1983, making 72 appearances in the Second Division, before moving on to Oldham Athletic on a free transfer in 1986. He helped Oldham reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup and the final of the Football League Cup in 1990 before he was transferred to Manchester United for a fee of £625,000.
In 12 years at Old Trafford, he made 296 Premier League appearances and won seven Premier League title medals, as well as three FA Cup winners medals (1994, 1996 and 1999), a League Cup winner's medal and Champions League and Cup Winners' Cup honours. He was comfortable in either of the full-back positions and an expert at free kicks and penalties, and even in his mid thirties he was still United's first choice left-back in preference to the much younger Phil Neville.
Notable goals came on Boxing Day 1991, when he scored twice in a 6–3 away league win over his old club Oldham Athletic, and his late winner against Southampton in May 1995 which kept the league title race open until the very last game; United finished runners-up but would have been champions had they been able to turn their 1–1 away draw with West Ham United into a victory, as champions Blackburn Rovers lost their final game of the season.
Irwin was awarded a testimonial game for Manchester United – played on 16 August 2000 against Manchester City at Old Trafford. Despite testimonials being friendly matches, due to the match being between local rivals it was a physical affair. Irwin went off injured in the 37th minute after a bad challenge by City striker George Weah.
Irwin made his last appearance for Manchester United at Old Trafford against Charlton Athletic on the final day of the 2001–02 Premier League season (12 May 2002), which ended in a 0–0 draw. For his final game as a Manchester United player, Alex Ferguson awarded him the captain's armband.
Irwin joined Wolverhampton Wanderers on a free transfer after the 2001–02 season, coincidentally joining the Black Country club at the same time as his former Manchester United teammate Paul Ince made the move to the West Midlands club, having previously been at Middlesbrough. Irwin scored twice in his first season at Wolves, against Burnley and Grimsby.
After Wolves won promotion to the Premier League in 2003, Irwin was applauded by the Manchester United supporters when he walked onto the pitch at Old Trafford for an early season league game which United won 1–0.
Irwin played for the Republic of Ireland national under-19 football team that qualified for the 1983 UEFA European Under-18 Football Championship and the 1984 UEFA European Under-18 Football Championship. He was capped 56 times for the Republic of Ireland between 1990 and 1999, and scored four goals. His first appearance came on 12 September 1990 (just after his move to Manchester United), when he helped them beat Morocco 1–0 in a friendly at Dalymount Park. He made his competitive international debut on 17 October 1990, when the national side began their Euro 92 qualifying campaign with a 5–0 win over Turkey at Lansdowne Road. He scored his first international goal on 29 April 1992 in a friendly against the USA at Lansdowne Road. His final international appearance came on 17 November 1999, at the age of 34, when the Republic lost to Turkey in the Euro 2000 qualifying playoff second leg in Bursa. He played for his country at the 1994 World Cup.
Since 2004, Irwin has worked as a presenter on MUTV. Irwin has been involved in coverage of several football tournaments on RTÉ. He is also a columnist with Ireland's Sunday World newspaper. He contributed to RTÉ Sport's coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
|Leeds United||1983–84||Second Division||12||0||1||0||0||0||—||—||13||0|
|Oldham Athletic||1986–87||Second Division||41||1||2||0||3||0||—||3[b]||0||49||1|
|Manchester United||1990–91||First Division||34||0||3||0||8||0||6[c]||0||1[d]||0||52||0|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||2002–03||First Division||43||2||4||0||2||0||—||3[i]||0||52||2|
- Appearances in Full Members' Cup
- Two appearances in Second Division play-offs, one in Full Members' Cup
- Appearances in European Cup Winners' Cup
- Appearance in Charity Shield
- Appearances in European Super Cup
- Appearances in UEFA Cup
- Appearances in UEFA Champions League
- One appearance in Charity Shield, one in Intercontinental Cup, two in FIFA Club World Cup
- Appearances in First Division play-offs
|Republic of Ireland national team|
|1||29 April 1992||Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Ireland||United States||4–0||Win||Friendly|
|2||29 October 1997||Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Ireland||Belgium||1–1||Draw||1998 World Cup qualification play-offs|
|3||5 September 1998||Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Ireland||Croatia||2–0||Win||UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying|
|4||10 February 1999||Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Ireland||Paraguay||2–0||Win||Friendly|
- Premier League: 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01
- FA Cup: 1993–94, 1995–96, 1998–99
- Football League Cup: 1991–92
- Charity Shield: 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997
- UEFA Champions League: 1998–99
- European Cup Winners' Cup: 1990–91
- European Super Cup: 1991
- Intercontinental Cup: 1999
- PFA Team of the Year: 1993–94 Premier League, 1998–99 Premier League
- Overall Team of the Decade – Premier League 10 Seasons Awards (1992/3 – 2001/2)
- PFA Team of the Century (1997–2007): 2007
- English Football Hall of Fame: 2016
- "Denis Irwin". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
- "Sir Alex Ferguson: his 10 best and worst signings for Manchester United". The Guardian.
- "Most Decorated Fottballers : Ireland : Honours : Trophies". www.soccer-ireland.com.
- Irish Times, 9 July 2008
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Top 10 Boxing Day massacres". The Sun. London.
- "Wolves 3–0 Burnley". BBC. 17 August 2002. Retrieved 28 October 2009.
- "Wolves 4–1 Grimsby". BBC. 26 October 2002. Retrieved 28 October 2009.
- "Irwin confirms retirement plans". BBC Sport. 22 August 2003. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
- "Denis Irwin : Manchester United : Irish Footballer : Cork". www.soccer-ireland.com.
- "MUTV – – Presenters Profiles Manchester United Official Web Site". Archived from the original on 3 September 2017. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
- Black, Fergus (2 June 2010). "RTÉ hopes Ossie and squad will spur fans to back home team". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
- O'Malley, Carl (2 June 2010). "RTÉ roll out big guns for their 56 live games". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
- "Denis Irwin". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman.
- "SoccerScene.ie – International Profile of Denis Irwin". Retrieved 17 November 2008.
- "Denis Irwin: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
- Grounds, Ben (23 April 2016). "Where does the class of 2016 rank among PFA Teams of the Year?". Daily Mail. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
- "Team of the Century: 1997–2007 – the Premiership's finest of the last decade". Give Me Football. 5 September 2007. Archived from the original on 21 October 2008. Retrieved 17 May 2016.