O’Neill, Fabián Alberto
(1973-), former professional footballer, was born in the
city of Paso de los Toros in the Uruguayan Department of
Tacuarembó, on 14 October 1973. He is the eldest of five
children born to Luis Alberto O’Neill and Mercedes
His Irish connections can be traced back to his
great-great-grandparents, Elizabeth Murphy and Thomas
O’Neill from County Cork, son of Isabel and Michael
O’Neill. In early 1837 Michael O’Neill and Isabel Sullivan
emigrated to Uruguay and their only son Thomas was born
the same year in Las Piedras, Canelones. Thomas married
Elizabeth and built up a farm in ‘Marincho’, Flores, some
200km north of the capital city, Montevideo. This marriage
produced eleven children. Benito, the youngest, married
María White Cogley, and was Fabián’s great-grandfather.
From this point onwards the family spread throughout
Uruguay, with some members emigrating to Australia. They
were mainly involved in livestock farming (O’Neill n/d).
Fabián O’Neill began his professional football career
playing for the Montevideo Club Nacional de Football, one
of the most successful clubs in the country, in 1992. As a
midfielder he quickly gained the nickname of “Mago”
(Wizard), as he was very good at dribbling and kicking
with both feet.
In 1996 he moved to Europe to play for the Italian Series
A team Cagliari-Calcio, following in the footsteps of
other Uruguyan stars such as
Enzo Francescoli and Daniel Fonseca. After the club was
relegated to Series B in 2000 he transferred to Juventus
FC where he played from 2000 until the end of 2001.
Unfortunately, with Juventus, ‘his form dipped as he found
himself starved of first-team chances’ (Vickery 2002). In
2002 he moved to Perugia as part of a transfer deal. In
Perugia he began to play more regularly and was finally
able to show the Italians his wizardry. He was released at
the end of the 2002 season and returned to Cagliari-Calcio,
who have again been relegated to Series B.
After this, O’Neill decided to retire and return to
Uruguay to take an active part in the running of his
cattle ranch. In January 2003 Club Nacional de Football
convinced him to join their ranks again. A few months
later, O’Neill, who was combining his job as a footballer
in Montevideo with that of a rancher and racehorse-owner,
decided to retire from high-level professional football at
the still young age of thirty, though the club did try to
dissuade him. After his retirement he played part-time for
a club in the interior league and now coaches a local
played for the Uruguayan national team in June 1993. He
represented his country in nineteen matches, scoring three
goals. He was selected and played for Uruguay at the FIFA
World Cup 2002.
Conrad O’Neill Malcolm
Martín, ‘Ficha Personal Fabián O’Neill’ La Web
Deportiva Uruguaya website (http://www.futbol.com.uy/noticias/2002/oneill.html)
– accessed 1 January 2008.
Julio, ‘Fabián O'Neill será titular si llega el
República (Montevideo) 28 February 2003 – accessed
online 2 January 2008.
O'Neill se incorpora la semana próxima’,
República (Montevideo) 17 January 2003 - accessed
online 2 January 2008.
Ronald J, ‘O’Neills in Uruguay’, unpublished family
- Vickery Tim,
‘O’Neill gives Uruguay options’, BBC Website
22 April, 2002 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport3/worldcup2002/hi/team_pages/uruguay/newsid_1944000/1944294.stm)
– accessed 5 January 2008.