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Uruguay mourns passing of Irish descendent Fabian O’Neill

Fabian O’Neill mourned by Uruguayan football.

Uruguayan football is mourning the passing of Fabian O’Neill, a former international who had Irish heritage.

In a statement issued on Christmas Day, the Uruguayan Football Association said “We regret with deep sadness and shock the death of the former player of the Uruguayan National Team, Fabián O’Neill. Our condolences to your family and friends. RIP.”

Irish hertiage.

O’Neill, who was 49, lined out 19 times for his country between 1993 and 2002. According to, the midfielder’s Irish heritage can be traced back to his great-great–great-grandparents, Michael O’Neill and Isabel Sullivan from County Cork.

Michael and Isobel emigrated to Uruguay in 1837, the same year that their only son Thomas was born in the southern city of Las Piedras.

Thomas and his own wife Elizabeth later had eleven children of their own, one of them being Benito, who was Fabian O’Neill’s great-grandfather.

Fabian O’Neill tributes.

Luis Suarez was one of the current crop of Uurguay players who paid tribute to O’Neill after news of his passing.

“Rest in peace, Fabian,” posted the former Liverpool and Barcelona forward. “Thanks for the football. A lot of strength to your family.”

Beginning and ending his career at Montevideo club Nacional, O’Neill lined out for Italian sides Cagliari, Juventus and Perugia in the 1990s and 2000s.

Juventus paid their own tribute to their former player on their website, saying that “Juventus remembers Fabian and extends its condolences to his family.”

Zinedine Zidane.

While playing in Turin, O’Neill was a teammate of Zinedine Zidane who, according to France24, said that the Uruguayan was “the most talented player I’ve ever seen.”

O’Neill travelled to South and Korea and Japan as part of the Uruguay squad for the 2002 World Cup but never made it onto the pitch at the tournament.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.