Former Ireland international and Man United manager Frank O’Farrell dies at 94

Corkman won nine caps and brought Leicester City to an FA Cup final in 1969

Former Ireland international Frank O’Farrell, who went on manage Manchester United, has died at the age of 94.

O’Farrell was a wing-half who played for his native Cork United, West Ham and Preston North End, winning nine international caps between 1952 and 1959.

O’Farrell guided Leicester City to the 1969 FA Cup final during his three-year spell in charge of the Foxes.

But he was best known as the man who succeeded Matt Busby as United manager in 1971, although his Old Trafford reign would last only 18 months.

He began his managerial career at Weymouth in 1961 and spent three years at Torquay before landing the Leicester job in 1968.

O’Farrell led Leicester to Wembley the following year, where they were beaten 1-0 by Manchester City, and the Foxes were relegated from the first division three weeks later.

Leicester returned to the top flight as second division champions in 1971 and O’Farrell was quickly appointed as Busby’s successor.

After a promising start which saw United top the table for the first time in three years, O'Farrell fell out with star player George Best and the Red Devils ended the season in eighth.

O’Farrell was sacked in December 1972 with United third-from-bottom of Division One.

He would later manager Cardiff, the Iran national team and United Arab Emirates club Al-Shaab, as well having two further spells in charge of Torquay.

“It was with great sadness that the club heard the news that former manager Frank O’Farrell died on 6 March, 2022, aged 94,” said the official Leicester website.

“The thoughts of everyone at Leicester City Football Club are with the family and friends of Frank at this sad time.”

United paid tribute to O’Farrell in a statement, saying: “He lamented the fact that he had not been give more time to implement a long-term project at Old Trafford and, while we will never know how that might have turned out, we do know that we will always be grateful for his willingness to take the tiller at such a tricky point in the club’s history.

“Staff at United send their condolences to Frank’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

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