Oliver Byrne

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Oliver Byrne (26 July 1944 in Dublin – 26 August 2007) was formerly the CEO of Irish soccer club Shelbourne F.C.. He was one of the most colorful and controversial characters in Irish football.[1]

Early life[edit]

In 1949, when he was five, his brother Joe brought him to see Shelbourne at their former ground in Milltown. At the time his father Andrew was chairman and controlling shareholder of Shelbourne. He was chairman from 1945 to 1956.

Ollie attended St. Josephs BNS Primary School in Terenure. While studying for a degree in Law in UCD, he played for UCD AFC but his asthma ruled soccer out as a career choice.[2] He left college to work in the music industry,[2] promoting new acts, such as Thin Lizzy and Skid Row and had a club, Zeros, on Mary Street. However, he soon returned to football and became involved in the workings of Shelbourne F.C., the club he supported since he was a boy.


Byrne was inducted on to the Shels board in 1976. Tony Byrne took over the club in 1982 and it wasn't until 1986 that Ollie assumed control again.

An always controversial figure in 1976 Byrne left his stand seat in Tolka Park and smacked a referee who'd displeased him. The Football Association of Ireland suspended him for that for five years.

In January 1984, he sued Shelbourne Football Club Ltd for £21,000 Byrne had claimed he loaned the club.[3] The following month Byrne was awarded £10,000 by the High Court.[4]

In May 1986, Byrne sued the Evening Herald and the Evening Press for libel when the papers falsely accused Byrne and a co accused of firearms offenses.[5][6] In court, Byrne and a co accused were convicted of receiving stolen cigarettes and had been sentenced to three years at Shelton Abbey Prison. They were each awarded £2000.[7]


In September, he was involved in an incident with Derry City F.C. fans over a banner about former player Peter Hutton.[8][9]

When the clubs played again in November the game was held up 35 minutes as Byrne argued over a clash of shirts.[10]


The Paul Marney affair saw Byrne and his club in the High Court when the players' "improper" registration for St. Patrick's Athletic ended in a court case which left the Inchicore club docked 15 points for further irregularities.[11]

Byrne found himself back in court for a different matter when he was fined €100 for running a teenage disco in Tolka Park without a license.[12][13]


In March, Byrne was charged with public order offences after confronting St Patrick's Athletic fans.[14]


In May, Byrne wrongly accused Shamrock Rovers fans of orchestrating trouble at the 2005 Setanta Sports Cup Final[15]

In June, he got involved in a fight with Roddy Collins.[13][16]

In August, Byrne got involved in an altercation with the Drogheda United photographer.[17]


In November, a charge of assault against Byrne was struck out after Collins accepted his apology in court.[13]


Byrne was hospitalized in January 2007 for severe chest and head pains.[2] He was hospitalized again in June 2007, which caused him to take a leave of absence as Chairman of Shelboune F.C.,[18] and died in August at age 63 from cancer.[1]


  1. ^ a b Dunne, Eoin (2007-08-27). "Ollie Just Lived and Died for Shelbourne FC; A Red through and Through". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 2015-10-09 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (help)). 
  2. ^ a b c "Shelbourne announce death of Ollie Byrne". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 2007-08-26. Retrieved 2015-10-09. 
  3. ^ "Man sues football club for sum of £21,789". The Irish Times. 1984-01-20. p. 10. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Club to pay man £10,000". The Irish Times. 1984-02-09. p. 8. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Convicted men allege libel over wrong charge report". The Irish Times. 1986-05-08. p. 10. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Men win £4,000 damages in newspaper libel action". The Irish Times. 1986-05-09. p. 10. [dead link]
  7. ^ http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/archive/1986/0509/Pg010.html#Ar01004:5809CA58C9DD58A9CB5A69DE747AB4752AC6751AB476DAC757DA705A3A83706A3872EA4B6FEAC2722AD5529AB4534AC7532AB654CAC954DAB5561AC8559AC4590AD6.html. Retrieved 25 August 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  8. ^ Doyle, Paul (2001-09-19). "League to investigate allegations by Derry fans". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2015-10-09. 
  9. ^ "League investigate Tolka rumpus". BBC News. 2001-09-19. Retrieved 2015-10-09. 
  10. ^ "Shirt dispute sours relations". The Irish Times. 2001-11-23. Retrieved 2015-10-09. 
  11. ^ George, Bill (2002-04-12). "St Pats keep mum 'til report published". The Irish Examiner. Retrieved 2015-10-09. 
  12. ^ "Soccer chief fined pounds 100". Daily Mirror. 2002-05-02. Retrieved 2015-10-10 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (help)). 
  13. ^ a b c "Football executive's apology for assault accepted". The Irish Times. 2006-11-09. Retrieved 2015-10-09. 
  14. ^ "Football chairman charged with public order offences". The Irish Times. 2003-03-20. Retrieved 2015-10-09. 
  15. ^ "Byrne to appeal Rovers decision". The Irish Times. 2005-05-23. Retrieved 2015-10-09. 
  16. ^ Cowzer, Owen (2005-06-18). "Football: Collins & Byrne in ugly Tolka brawl". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2015-10-09 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (help)). 
  17. ^ O'Hehir, Paul (2005-08-10). "Collins complains". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2015-10-09. 
  18. ^ "Shels appoint Flood as caretaker". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 2007-06-14. Retrieved 2015-10-09. 

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