Paul McGrath first met Christy Moore when he was still playing junior football with Dalkey United at the start of the 1980s.

McGrath and Moore were both living in Crumlin then, with the young defender star struck every time he'd catch a glimpse of the Kildare man.

Eventually, their paths crossed and McGrath plucked up the courage to introduce himself.

It was the start of a beautiful friendship, as both men's careers soared and endured, intertwining in almost cosmic fashion as the Republic of Ireland announced themselves on the world stage under Jack Charlton.

By then, McGrath had established himself with both Manchester United and his country as one of the game's finest centre-halves. 

At Euro 88 he helped Ireland to a monumental defeat of England - and that day was later immortalised in song by Moore.

"From the success we had at the Euros, Christy did a song called Joxer Goes To Stuttgart, a hilarious song," McGrath told Des's Island Discs on RTÉ Radio 1.

"I'd known him for a number of years before that. 

"He became such a great friend over the years. I went out to live in Crumlin for a while with my mum. Christy lived out that way. I was amazed to see him walking along the road - 'hang on, that's Christy Moore walking past me there!'. 

"I was playing with Dalkey at the time. I was just amazed to see him strolling around.

"We used to have a swimming area in Crumlin. He was coming out of the swimming pool and I was going around to the shopping centre. From that day we became good friends.

"When I went over to Manchester United and became a little bit known, I got brave enough to ask for a couple of tickets to a gig of his.

"Everyone was having so much fun at the time [of the Euros]. The belief came with what happened in Stuttgart, in winning that game.

"Only Christy could put the spin on it that he did. 

"That's what we loved so much, that so many Irish people were sacrificing things to back us, to get behind us.

"Jack used to let so many of the supporters in with us after the games and they were allowed have a couple of pints with the players. We mixed with the supporters. Jack made that possible.

"It kept us connected with everything that was going on.

"It was only two or three pints that you were allowed after the game but for the supporters I think it really meant a lot. And then there were fiddles and stuff, you know the way it goes.

"We were marched off to bed and they'd continue sometimes. It was great."

McGrath also spoke about his connection to U2 - who would often meet up with the Ireland players after games - and aired his gratefulness for the constant affection the public show towards one of the finest players Ireland has ever produced.

"U2 used to meet with the lads at certain matches and we'd go to their concerts," he said.

"We did get a relationship built up over the years. They liked the football and we loved what they were doing. We're roughly the same age so it was easy to like the lads. 

"When I go out to places people still come up to me and ask for the odd photo, things like that.

"It's great for me. To be this long after my career, I'm honoured to still have people people come up to me."