|Date Of Birth:||1-3-1958|
|Place Of Birth:||Dublin|
|Debut:||30-Oct-77, League, (a) Thurles Town, 6-2|
A son of Kit Lawlor and brother of Mick, Martin’s schoolboy and youths itinerary brought him to Sherriff United and then Shamrock Rovers, and when Rovers under-16 squad was disbanded he ended up with Stella Maris. By the time he came to Dundalk for the 1977-78 season he had alternated between left wing and left midfield.
Frustrated at his restricted first team opportunities at Oriel Park, where he got just two starts, both in League games against Thurles Town, he headed for America in the summer of 1978 but after four matches with Colorado Caribous no contract was forthcoming and he returned home. Jim McLaughlin tried him out at left full in the pre-season programme and as the old cliché says…the rest is history.
In a National League career that spanned 20 years and nearly 650 games (447 League appearances), he spent 17 of them at Oriel Park, setting marks that are unlikely ever to be approached.
His club record in the areas of appearances and competitive honours is the stuff of legends and he is the only paid up member of the two League-FAI Cup double squads, in 1978-79 under Jim McLaughlin and nine years later in 1987-88 under Turlough O’Connor.
His playing period covered five memorable Dundalk defences and he was a key member of each of them. Through five different managers—McLaughlin, Dempsey, Connolly, O’Connor, Keely—he was the one constant.
After the 1990-91 championship win he left to join Shamrock Rovers but a season later he returned to Oriel Park and in 1994-95 he added a fifth pennant to his collection before finally leaving at the end of the season.
At United Park Drogheda he spent half of the 1995-96 season as player-manager, quitting in December and at the end of that season had a couple of games with Crusaders alongside his brother Robbie, making his debut in the final of the Gold Cup against Linfield, winning 1-0 at the Oval in February .
After making 18 appearances in European competition while at Dundalk, he had one last taste of European football in July 1996 with Crusaders in the Cup Winners Cup, losing the away tie to two late goals against Lithuanian side Fk Zalgiris Vilnius. At Seaview, Crusaders fell behind early but rallied with two very late goals for a 2-1 tie victory, going out on a 3-2 aggregate. Brother Robbie had been red-carded in the away tie, missing all the fun at Seaview.
This July 1996 victory with Crusaders came 17 years after he had made his European debut in the cauldron of Oriel Park against Linfield in August 1979 and completed a 20-match European record that included four wins and four draws.
He spent his 20th and last League season with Galway United. Ever a winner, he added one last trophy to his bulging memento cabinet, when the Tribesmen defeated Limerick by 2-0, after extra time, in the final of the Shield.
When he quit he had 635 competitive LOI games to his credit with Dundalk (569), Shamrock Rovers (22), Drogheda (20) and Galway United (23). These were spread across 11 competitions as follows: League (447), FAI Cup (58), European Cup (10), European Cup Winners’ Cup (4), UEFA Cup (4), League Cup (65), Leinster Cup (28), Presidents Cup (8), First Division Shield (7), Tyler Cup (3) and Dublin City Cup (3).
His 30 League caps spanned a period of 14 years, from April 1979 until his final cap in August 1993 against RCS (Czechoslovakia) at Tolka Park and took in games in Switzerland, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, New Zealand, Italy, USA and Trinidad.
What They Said About Him
Dermot Keely’s tribute in Martin’s Testimonial match programme v Chelsea: “…proved himself the best left-full in League of Ireland football … he has been a credit to football … second best is never good enough for him … he seeks perfection in everything he does … a thorough professional … and one that has remained loyal to his club, Dundalk”.
15 Wins: 5 Leagues 1978-79, 1981-82, 1987-88, 1990-91, 1994-95; 3 FAI Cups 1978-79, 1980-81, 1987-88; 3 League Cups 1980-81, 1986-87, 1989-90; 4 Presidents Cups 1979-80, 1980-81, 1981-82, 1988-89.
13 Runners Up: 4 Leagues 1979-80, 1980-81, 1986-87, 1988-89; 2 FAI Cups 1986-87, 1992-93; 2 League Cups 1982-83, 1988-89; 2 Leinster Cups 1981-82, 1994-95; City Cup 1983-84; 2 Presidents Cups 1982-83, 1986-87.
30 League of Ireland Caps
5 Under-21 Caps
Dundalk Player of the Year 1986-87
Most League Appearances 400
Most FAI Cup Appearances 56
Most League Cup Appearances 56
Most League Winner’s Medals 5
Most FAI Cup Winner’s Medals (joint) 3
Most League Cup Winner’s Medals 3
|League of Ireland career...League Games|
|LOI 20 seasons||441(6)||15|
|European Competition Player Stats|
|Dundalk||1979-80||EUC||6 (0) 0|
|Dundalk||1980-81||UFC||2 (0) 0|
|Dundalk||1981-82||CWC||4 (0) 1|
|Dundalk||1982-83||EUC||2 (0) 0|
|Dundalk||1988-89||EUC||2 (0) 0|
|Dundalk||1989-90||UFC||2 (0) 0|
|Crusaders||1996-97||UFC||2 (0) 0|
|Total||20 (0) 1|
|EUC=European Cup; UFC=UEFA Cup; CWC=Cup Winners Cup|