Mike Gibson

A five-time British Lion

The greatest back in the history of Irish rugby, and one of the finest ever produced anywhere, Mike Gibson was an automatic selection for Ireland between 1964 and 1979.

Mike GibsonBorn in Belfast on December 3, 1942, Gibson took up rugby as a schoolboy at Campbell College in the east of the city. After a law degree, he returned to Belfast to work as a solicitor and play club rugby for North.

He made his debut for Ireland in a rare win against England at Twickenham in February 1964 and went on to gain 69 caps, playing his last international match at the age of 36 in Australia in the final test of an historic 2-0 series win.

Renowned for his professional approach to what was then an amateur game, as well as his vision and skill, Gibson also made a record breaking five tours with the British Lions through the 1960s and 1970s, playing in 12 test matches. He still lives and works in Belfast, and, spurred on by his daughter’s interest in the game, is now one of Ulster’s top hockey umpires.