Surprising and Not So Surprising Irish Athletes | St. Patrick’s Day 2021

Just a fun compilation of famous athletes from Ireland that you may or may not have thought of.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day from your friends at DFS Army!

Muhammad Ali

Yes, “The Greatest” is of partial Irish and English descent.  From the “Thrilla in Manilla” to the “Rumble in the Jungle,” where would sports be today without the influence of on, Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.?

Tom Brady

The latest consensus “GOAT” was raised in an Irish-Catholic family as a child. As he works on his second hand of Super Bowl Rings, Brady’s Irish athlete background is actually rather well documented.

Kevin McHale 

Boston Celtics legend, Kevin McHale, has a name that screams Irish for obvious reasons.  Playing for the Celtics was just the icing on the proverbial cake.

Derek Jeter

5-time World Series champ, 5 gold gloves, 5 silver sluggers, and 14 All-Star appearances put Jeter in the stratosphere of former Yankees.  And, yes, he’s part Irish.

John Elway

Known now as the GM of his former playing team, the Denver Broncos, John Elway is in fact of Irish background.  For those that remember his playing career, he was one of the pre-Brady goats often mentioned in debates.  He is also one of only two players (any position) to rush for a touchdown in FOUR different Super Bowls.  (The other being Buffalo Bills RB Thurman Thomas.)

Jack Dempsey

World Heavyweight Champion boxer, Jack Dempsey, is of both Irish and Native-American descent.  He wore the belt from 1919-1926 for those that have forgotten “the sweet science.”

Danica Patrick

You may know her as Aaron Rodgers’ ex-girlfriend, or as the hottest race car driver every to walk the planet.  But, Patrick is not only the first female to win an Indy-circuit race….she’s Irish.

Jason Kidd

Perhaps you hated him as an NBA coach, but his playing ability was off the charts good.  10-time All-Star and 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist, I personally remember picking my eyes up off the floor when a young Kidd came to my alma mater (Kansas Jayhawks) and stunned us as a Cal-Berkley Bear.  Every one of us said “this dude is beyond special.”

John McEnroe

When it comes to tennis legend John McEnroe’s background, no one will be screaming his immortal quote… “You have GOT to be kidding me!”

Conor McGregor 

Highlighting five of the six highest grossing pay-per-view UFC fights, “The Notorious” is an absolute legend in the MMA, and sporting, world.  And, of course, notoriously Irish.

Ben Hogan

His iconic look was “capped” off by wearing an ascot emulated by perhaps one of today’s most popular golfers, Bryson DeChambeau.  However, it’s Rory McIlroy you might more associate with “Irish” heritage.

John Daly

First to average over 300 yards per drive, Daly is the PGA Tour’s everyman through and through.  Known for requesting copious amounts of Diet Coke and M&Ms for his golf bag, “Long John Daly” is also Irish.

Mark McGwire

Ethics and morality aside, we all watched the resurrection of baseball in 1998 during his epic homerun chase with Sammy Sosa.  Never has a more lackluster team sold out more road games than those cities all wanting to watch history chased down right in front of their eyes.

Michael Phelps

The GOAT of swimming is Irish.  28 Olympic medals, 23 of which are gold.

Ryan O’Reilly

Another that goes without saying, but making sure there was plenty of Guinness on O’Reilly’s 2019 Stanley Cup Parademobile while he wore a top hat and played air-guitar to U2 through the streets of St. Louis resonates as a highly authentic Irishman.

So many other names are also Irish.  From Sam Snead to John Stockton, from Jimmy Connors to Whitey Ford.  Athletes all over professional sports are Irish. And today, we raise a pint and salute them, and even if we aren’t Irish athletes ourselves……we pretend to be!

May the ships at see never be bottoms-up!