Mark O'Brien (footballer, born 1992)

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Mark O'Brien
Personal information
Full name Mark Leo O'Brien
Date of birth (1992-11-20) 20 November 1992 (age 21)
Place of birth Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current team
Derby County
Number 15
Youth career
2000-2008 Cherry Orchard
2008–2010 Derby County
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2009– Derby County 35 (0)
National team
Republic of Ireland U17
2010-2011 Republic of Ireland U19 2 (0)
2013- Republic of Ireland U21 0 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23:30, 27 November 2013 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).

Mark Leo O'Brien (born 20 November 1992) is an Irish footballer who plays as a defender for Derby County. His older brother James is also a professional footballer. Both Mark and James came through the ranks of Cherry Orchard in Dublin.[1]

Club career[edit]

O'Brien started his career at Cherry Orchard, before he was spotted by Derby County scouts in the Dublin & District Schoolboy League.[2]

After signing for Derby, O'Brien became a regular in the clubs under-18 side in the 2008–09 season,[2] before he made his debut for Derby County as a 65th minute substitute for Lewin Nyatanga, in a 3–1 defeat away to Watford on 3 May 2009.[3] He was named Derby County scholar of the year at a club awards ceremony two days later. He also won the 2009 Republic of Ireland under-19 Player of the Year.[2]

In November 2009 it was announced by Derby County that O'Brien had successfully undergone heart surgery to correct a valve problem, and that he would be able to resume his career following a three to four-month recovery period. The problem had been discovered during a routine medical scan for academy players.[4] The operation was carried out at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital.[2] He returned to football action just six months later, as he played 45 minutes in an Academy friendly against Wallsend Boys Club on 13 April 2010[5] and was an unused substitute in Derby's final first team game of the 2009–10 season as they ran out 2–0 winners against Cardiff City at Pride Park.

In the 2010–11 season, O'Brien returned to being a regular in the clubs under-18 side[2] and the reserve team as the also was part of the Central League Central Division winning team.[6] O'Brien appeared twice for the first team, both as late substitutes in league games against Barnsley and Ipswich Town in October and November 2010.[7]

On 6 August 2011, O'Brien made an appearance in the first game of 2011–12 season against Birmingham City, replacing the injured Russell Anderson in the 35th minute. The Rams won the game 2–1, with O'Brien gaining praise for his performance. O'Brien continued to start the subsequent league games against Watford, Blackpool and Doncaster Rovers, as Derby won their opening first four games of a league season in 63 years. However this run was ended against Burnley, as an O'Brien defensive error contributed to a 2–1 defeat. On 13 September 2011, O'Brien signed a new four-year contract, extending his stay at Pride Park until the summer of 2015.[8] He made 21 appearances for the club until he was ruled out for the season in December, after damaging his cruciate ligaments in training.[9] In May 2012, it was revealed that O'Brien had started running for the first time since he picked up his injury.[10] O'Brien set himself the target to be fit for the start of pre-season training in July 2012.[10] O'Brien won the Contribution the to Community Award at the Derby County's 2012 awards night.[2]

On 3 July 2012, O'Brien visited a specialist to see if he would be given the all clear to take part in Derby County's 2012–13 pre-season training.[2] O'Brien was given clearance to take part in pre-season training by the specialist[11] and after the sale of Jason Shackell Derby manager Nigel Clough stated his faith in O'Brien's ability at Championship level.[12] Despite playing in several pre-season friendlies including a start at Northampton Town; O'Brien was unable to feature at the start of season due to swelling on his knee.[13] Nigel Clough said he would be cautious over O'Brien's return to action, initially with the new under-21 team.[13] O'Brien made his return on 1 October 2012, playing 60 minutes for the under-21's against Crewe Alexandra.[14] O'Brien made his return to first team action ten months after his last appearance on 27 October 2012, as a 72nd minute substitute in a 3–0 loss at Peterborough United.[15] O'Brien made his return to the starting eleven for the first time in thirteen months in Derby's 2–0 win at Bristol City on 15 December 2012, O'Brien's performance "unbelievable character" during the match was praised by Nigel Clough as he played 87 minutes in the game was a key factor in Derby's first clean sheet in seven games.[16] Clough said that "He was tremendous. He was struggling at half-time, so we said 'just get back out for 10 or 15 minutes.' He was then struggling at the 70-minute mark but we told him 'you're going to have to stay on.' He then succumbed to cramp in the end but he showed unbelievable character to play for so long because 13 months since a start is a long, long time at this level."[16] O'Brien get his place in the team until he picked up an injury in the warm-up in Derby's game at Sheffield Wednesday on 9 February, O'Brien was removed from the starting line up and was later ruled out for a month due to knee joint injury.[17] In late March, O'Brien was ruled out for a further six months after undergoing knee surgery.[18]

O'Brien as expected missed the 2013–14 pre-season training sue to his injury, with an autumn return being targeted.[19]

International career[edit]

O'Brien has been capped youth level for his native Ireland, at under-19 level.[20] O'Brien was called up as standby at under-21 level for a game against Liechtenstein U21 in November 2011.[20] In January 2013, he was called up to the under-21 squad for the first time for a friendly game against Netherlands U21 on 6 February.[20]

Career statistics[edit]

As of 2 February 2013
Club Season League[A] FA Cup League Cup Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Derby County 2008–09[21] 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
2009–10[22] 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2010–11[23] 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
2011–12[24] 20 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 21 0
2012–13[25] 9 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 11 0
2013–14[26] 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 32 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 35 0
Career totals 32 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 35 0
A. ^ The "League" column constitutes appearances and goals (including those as a substitute) in the Football League.


  • Derby County Academy Player of the Year – 2008–09[2]
  • Republic of Ireland U-16 Player of the Year – 2008–09[2]
  • The Central League, Central Division Champions – 2010–11[6]
  • Derby County Community to the Club Award – 2011–12[2]


  1. ^ "The Cherry Orchard News". 20 March 2009. Retrieved 15 October 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Rams Derby County player Mark O'Brien: Player profile". Derby Telegraph. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Waford 3–1 Derby". 3 May 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2009. 
  4. ^ "Rams Academy ace O'Brien has heart surgery". Derby Telegraph. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  5. ^ "O'Brien makes Rams return". 14 April 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Mark O'Brien". Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Games played by Mark O'Brien in 2010/2011". Soccerbase. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "O'Brien Signs New Derby Deal". 13 September 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  9. ^ "Derby County defender Mark O'Brien ruled out for the season". BBC Sport. 29 December 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "O'Brien on the Road To Recovery". 1 May 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  11. ^ "Nigel Clough: Young squad raring to go for new Derby County campaign". Derby Telegraph. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "Derby County have sold Jason Shackell to Championship rivals Burnley and are close to new signing". Derby Telegraph. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "Setback for Derby County defender Mark O'Brien on road to fitness". Derby Telegraph. 28 August 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  14. ^ "Derby County U21 4–2 Crewe Alexandra U21". 1 October 2012. 
  15. ^ "Peterborough 3–0 Derby". BBC Sport. 27 October 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  16. ^ a b "Mark O'Brien digs deep to play key role in Derby County's' victory over Bristol City". Derby Telegraph. 17 December 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  17. ^ "Break for O'Brien". 14 February 2013. 
  18. ^ "O’Brien Undergoes Knee Surgery". 17 March 2013. 
  19. ^ "Defender Mark O'Brien on track for autumn return". Derby Telegraph. 5 July 2013. 
  20. ^ a b c "Mark public of Ireland call-up for Derby County youngster O'Brien". Burton Mail. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  21. ^ "Games played by Mark O'Brien in 2008/2009". Soccerbase. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  22. ^ "Games played by Mark O'Brien in 2009/2010". Soccerbase. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  23. ^ "Games played by Mark O'Brien in 2010/2011". Soccerbase. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  24. ^ "Games played by Mark O'Brien in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  25. ^ "Games played by Mark O'Brien in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  26. ^ "Games played by Mark O'Brien in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 

External links[edit]